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Payment closes case against wealthy investors

The finance ministry has dropped an investigation into a Russian billionaire and two Austrian investors in exchange for a SFr10 million ($10.4 million) payment.

Swiss authorities were building a case against Viktor Vekselberg and two others for alleged stock market abuses after the men bought shares of Sulzer in 2006 and 2007 without properly disclosing their purchases.

That investigation has now been closed after each of the men agreed to pay a portion of the SFr10 million payment without admitting any wrongdoing.

The finance ministry said in a statement on Monday that the payment had made the investigation “unnecessary”, while the men have said they are innocent.

“The stay of proceedings confirms the opinion of Mr Vekselberg of having acted within the law,” said a statement from Vekselberg’s holding company, Renova.

In September the Federal Criminal Court acquitted Vekselberg, Georg Stumpf and Ronny Pecik of a record SFr40 million fine each for stock market abuses when they took over industrial firm Oerlikon in 2006.

The finance ministry could appeal that decision and said in a statement that the Oerlikon case is still on the table.

Vekselberg has frequently been in the news since his business group Renova started buying up large chunks of the Swiss industrial landscape in 2006.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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