Seven charged over suspected money laundering

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has charged seven people on suspicion of money laundering and economic crime in connection with an important Czech energy company.

This content was published on October 24, 2011 - 10:31 and agencies

In a statement, the prosecutor’s office said formal charges had been filed with the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona. Around SFr600 million ($680 million) in Swiss bank accounts has already been seized.

In June 2005, the prosecutor’s office opened a criminal procedure in connection with the allegedly illegal takeover of one of the most important – and as yet unnamed – Czech energy companies by members of its management by diverting the company’s own assets, the statement explained.

It added that after a six-year complex international investigation, grounds for suspicion were now sufficient to seek indictment.

“The [prosecutor’s office] charges the directors of the company, together with third parties who participated in the take-over, with having set up a particularly complex structure in different countries, including Switzerland, in order to misappropriate the company's assets for private purposes, thereby enabling them to become its owners without having to spend a cent,” the statement said.

“According to the charges filed, a significant part of the assets were transferred to Switzerland to be laundered. Some 100 bank accounts have been identified as linked to these activities, and a total amount equivalent to approximately SFr600 million has been seized as a precautionary measure.”

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