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Bribery Swiss attorney general files first indictment in Petrobras scandal


Switzerland accepted a request from the Brazilian and Portuguese authorities to handle the case.

(Keystone / Dado Galdieri)

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) says it has filed its first Petrobras indictment with the Federal Criminal Court against a Swiss-Brazilian intermediary charged with money laundering and bribery.  

The “Operation Car Wash” investigation into the state-run Petrobras oil company and Odebrecht, Latin America’s largest construction company, is one of the most serious corruption cases in Brazilian history. Odebrecht was found to have funnelled bribes to employees of the Brazilian state oil company Petrobras via Swiss banks. 

The OAG first opened criminal proceedings against the financial intermediary in 2015. It has now gathered enough evidence to indict the person under the accelerated procedure of the country’s highest criminal court. The accused will have to answer charges of “complicity in the bribery of foreign public officials” and “simple and aggravated money laundering”. 

“The good bilateral cooperation with the Brazilian and Portuguese prosecuting authorities has contributed to this result. Criminal proceedings for money laundering of funds derived from corruption had already been opened in Brazil and Portugal against the same individual,” said the OAG in a statement on Tuesdayexternal link.  

Switzerland accepted a request from the Brazilian and Portuguese authorities to handle the case in order to avoid multiple parallel investigations. So far 60 criminal proceedings are pending at the OAG in connection to the Petrobras affair, including two against Swiss financial institutions. The Brazilian authorities have taken over 15 cases. In terms of ill-gotten gains, Switzerland has seized assets worth over CHF620 million (around $627 million) of which CHF390 million has been returned to Brazil.

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