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Money laundering Switzerland hands down first Petrobras conviction

A man cycles past the Petrobras headquarters in Brazil.

The Petrobras corruption scandal has implicated several Swiss institutions.

(Keystone / Silvia Izquierdo)

The first Swiss conviction relating to the Brazilian Petrobras-Odebrecht scandal has been handed down to a Swiss-Brazilian national. The man was found guilty of complicity in bribing foreign agents and of money laundering offences in Switzerland, Brazil and Portugal.

The Swiss court said the case related to payments worth more than $35 million (CHF34 million) made to Petrobras employees between 2007 and 2014 via intermediaries in Switzerland and Brazil, reports Reuters.

On Wednesday, the convicted man was handed a suspended 16-month custodial sentence and ordered to pay CHF1.6 million in fines and court costs.

Brazil’s worst corruption scandal saw construction company Odebrecht accused of funnelling hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to oil firm Petrobras via Swiss banks. 

Swiss prosecutors have opened some 60 criminal proceedingsexternal link, including two probes against Swiss financial institutions. In 2018, PKB private bank was ordered to hand over CHF1.3 million in illegally gained assets

Switzerland has seized assets worth over CHF620 million in ill-gotten gains of which CHF390 million has been returned to Brazil.

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