Argentina asks for Swiss aid in corruption investigation

Argentina has sent a letter to the Geneva public prosecutor, Bernard Bertossa, and to Zurich authorities requesting judicial aid in an investigation into suspected money laundering activities by its prosecutor general.

This content was published on June 23, 2001 - 11:48

Argentina suspects its highest judge, Nicolas Becerra, has used a Credit Suisse bank account in Geneva to deposit funds obtained from illegal drug trafficking.

A judiciary spokesman confirmed that Buenos Aires was looking to obtain more information about the origin of the accounts.

Becerra was appointed prosecutor general by the government of Carlos Menem, who served as Argentine president between 1989 and 1999.

Two journalists recently published a book allegedly revealing that Becerra transferred $90,000 (SFr160,000) into Swiss bank accounts.

In a separate development, the Swiss supreme court has given the go-ahead for documents requested by Spain to be handed over to aid their investigation of the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal ruled that Swiss documents which were given to Italy in 1998 during investigations into Berlusconi's Fininvest concern, could be passed on to the Spanish investigator, Balthazar Garzon.

Garzon is examining whether Berlusconi contravened Spanish law when he took a majority stake in the country's private television station, Tele Cinco.

As well as allegations of fiscal fraud, Berlusconi and his associates are also being investigated for corruption, said Folco Galli, a spokesman for the Swiss justice ministry.

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