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Lázaro Báez

Swiss aid requested in Argentinian money laundering case

The Swiss justice ministry says it has forwarded a request from Argentinian authorities to the Office of the Attorney-General concerning an alleged case of money laundering involving CHF60 million ($61 million).

Swiss authorities will share information relating to ten bank accounts associated with 59-year-old Argentinian construction entrepreneur Lázaro Báez, who made his fortune during the combined 12-year presidential terms of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner.

Báez is suspected of having laundered CHF60 million of Argentinian public funds between 2012 and 2013 and of having repatriated three-quarters of that amount.

The request for information from Argentinian justice authorities concerns six bank accounts with the Geneva branch of J. Safra Sarasin, two accounts with Lombard Odier, one with the Geneva branch of Citibank and another with PKB in Lugano.

Four of the accounts were opened in the name of Panamanian companies. Another with the Lugano-based bank Helvetic Services Group belonged to Nestor Marcelo, a Swiss resident and supposed collaborator of Báez’s.

“After the summary examination of formal requirements, the justice ministry has forwarded the request for mutual legal assistance on the Báez case to the Office of the Attorney-General for execution,” spokesperson Folco Galli confirmed in a statement on Thursday.

This means that, for now, the Swiss authorities have only considered the completeness of the request from Argentinian authorities. The next step is to formally evaluate the request’s merits and the possibility of sharing the banking information in question.

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