Switzerland’s attorney general has opened an investigation into a corruption case involving Venezuela, according to a weekend report published by Schweiz am Wochenende. The Latin American nation is in the grips of a major political, economic and social crisis.
According to the prosecutor's statement to the weekly, proceedings were initiated at the end of 2017 against unknown persons “in the context of the events in Venezuela”. The offence is money laundering.
UBS, contacted by Swiss financial news agency AWP, has indicated that it is not aware of the case. Requests for comment from Credit Suisse and Julius Bär have gone unanswered.
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is also reported to be taking action.
Last October, a former employee of Swiss multinational private bank Julius Baer was sentenced to ten years behind bars in the United States for money laundering.
He admitted that he had helped steal about $600 million (CHF600 million) from Venezuela’s national oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA).
Last month, Washington imposed sanctions on PDVSA.
The United States and several other countries have dismissed the re-election of Venezuelan President Nicolas Madura as illegitimate, recognising instead Juan Guaido, the national assembly leader who declared himself interim president of the Latin American country.
Switzerland has not yet recognised Guaido, unlike other European countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain.