Jump to content
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]

Corruption case

Former Russian minister in Swiss money-laundering probe

The Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office has opened a money-laundering investigation against Russia's former Deputy Agriculture Minister Alexei Bazhanov. He is accused by Russia of having embezzled state funds, part of which allegedly ended up in Swiss banks.

A spokesman from the Federal Prosecutor’s Office confirmed it had opened the investigation at the beginning of 2013, following an article published by the Tages-Anzeiger and Der Bund newspapers on Wednesday. 

Bazhanov is accused by the Russian authorities of having embezzled one billion roubles (CHF15 million) in 2008-2009 together with accomplices from the Russian state company Rosagroleasing, which is at the centre of a financial scandal, the prosecutor’s office said. 

According to the two German-language newspapers, Russian investigators accuse the former minister of having used false documents to request money to purchase a facility intended to produce sunflower oil. The facility never existed. Bazhanov denies the accusations, which his lawyer told the newspapers were “politically motivated”. 

Part of the embezzled funds allegedly ended up in Swiss banks. The accused split the money between several accounts, the prosecutor’s office claimed. According to the papers, Bazhanov and his family used to live in Switzerland for a number of years. 

A Swiss bank alerted the Money Laundering Reporting Office in Bern. Afterwards the prosecutor’s office examined the suspect transactions on these accounts and the results were sent to the Russian authorities who are following the case. 

Legal assistance 

In October 2013 Russia reportedly asked Switzerland to freeze Bazhanov’s Swiss bank accounts and to send it the related documents. Bazhanov failed to oppose this request, first before the Federal Criminal Court and again before the Federal Court in February 2015. 

Information requested was then sent to the Russian authorities, the prosecutor’s office confirmed. A request for mutual legal assistance from the Russian prosecuting authorities asking for all banking data collected in Switzerland is still pending. 

In connection with the Rosagroleasing affair, the prosecutor’s office is also investigating two other officials from the state company and has requested mutual legal assistance from the Russian authorities.

swissinfo.ch with agencies


All rights reserved. The content of the website by swissinfo.ch is copyrighted. It is intended for private use only. Any other use of the website content beyond the use stipulated above, particularly the distribution, modification, transmission, storage and copying requires prior written consent of swissinfo.ch. Should you be interested in any such use of the website content, please contact us via contact@swissinfo.ch.

As regards the use for private purposes, it is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific content, and to place it on your own website or a website of third parties. The swissinfo.ch website content may only be embedded in an ad-free environment without any modifications. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the swissinfo.ch website, a basic, non-exclusive and non-transferable license is granted that is restricted to the one-time downloading and saving of said data on private devices. All other rights remain the property of swissinfo.ch. In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.