A Swiss court sentenced a Belgian lawyer to 2.5 years in prison, with 15 months of the sentence suspended, for aggravated money laundering and forgery of securities.
The 57-year-old woman, who cannot be identified under Geneva tribunal rules, was found guilty of laundering the proceeds of bearer shares she had stolen.
The lawyer was not sent behind bars in consideration of the time she spent in pre-trial detention. The case is linked to the testament of Belgium's Viscountess Amicie de Spoelberchexternal link.
However, Switzerland’s Public Prosecutor's Office, on behalf of the Federal Office of Police, requested that she be arrested in order to serve the remainder of a sentence imposed by a Luxembourg court.
In the 2016 Luxembourg case, she was sentenced to 24 months in jail, with 15 months of the sentence suspended for attempted fraud. Reuters reportsexternal link she was arrested again while on her sailboat in 2017 in Greece before agreeing to extradition to Geneva.
The lawyer had managed the affairs of the Viscountess’ two adopted sons, Patrice and Alexis. In that context, she acquired 815,000 AB InBev bearer shares, taking advantage of the trust placed on her by the two brothers.
She then deposited these securities in various bank accounts in Switzerland and laundered these funds using various financial mechanism to mask their origin, according to Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA.
At the current price, 815,000 AB InBev bearer shares are worth approximately 60 million euros (CHF65 million).
AB InBev (or Anheuser Busch Inbev NV) is a Belgium-based company dealing in the brewers industry. The company owns a portfolio of over 400 beer brands made in more than 50 countries.