Switzerland's largest ever money-laundering trial has begun in Bellinzona.This content was published on May 4, 2009 - 15:49
Nine defendants are facing charges of laundering more than SFr1 billion ($880 million) for the so-called cigarette mafia.
The Federal Prosecutor's Office has charged the four Swiss and three Italians as well as a Spaniard and a French citizen of supporting the criminal organisations, Italy-based Camorra and Sacra Corona Unita.
According to the prosecutor's file, the accused took part in the smuggling of 215 million cigarettes from Montenegro to Italy between 1994 and 2001.
The proceeds from the cigarette sales were allegedly laundered through a money exchange office in canton Ticino.
The defendants reject the charges.
The trial is expected to last until June 19.
swissinfo with agencies
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