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Illicit funds Switzerland hands CHF365m Petrobras-Odebrecht assets to Brazil

Brazilian demonstrators in street

Thousands of Brazilian people have voiced their disapproval of the Petrobras-Odebrecht scandal on the streets.

(Keystone / Sebastiao Moreira)

Switzerland has so far returned to Brazil CHF365 million ($365 million) in seized assets relating to the Petrobras-Odebrecht corporate corruption scandal. The Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has confiscated a total CHF700 million during its investigations.

Giving a summary of progressexternal link on the investigations on Tuesday, the OAGexternal link said the latest tranche of CHF9 million was sent to Brazil at the end of March “in favour of injured parties.”

The “Operation Car Wash” investigation into the state-run Petrobras oil company and Odebrecht, Latin America’s largest construction company, is one of the most serious corruption cases in Brazilian history.

Since April 2014, the OAG has opened 70 criminal proceedings against banks, other financial institutions and individuals having received reports of numerous suspicious transactions involving 1,000 Swiss banking relationships.

In February last year, the Swiss prosecutor sanctioned PKB private bank and ordered the Lugano-headquartered institution to hand over CHF1.3 million in illegally obtained profits. The Swiss financial regulator has also issued enforcement orders against other banks involved in the scandal.

On April 8, the Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber signed a joint declaration with his Brazilian counterpart “reaffirming their commitment to continue and intensify their cooperation”. This has involved the OAG executing 120 requests for mutual legal assistance from various countries in "one of the most complex" cases it has handled.

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