Navigation

Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

Police launch raids in Aeroflot probe

Russian investigators have been working with Swiss authorities on the Aeroflot case for three years

(Keystone Archive)

Police have raided several buildings across Switzerland in connection with a probe into alleged fraud and the laundering of money embezzled from the Russian airline, Aeroflot.

The sweep was part of a coordinated operation with French and Cypriot police, who also raided premises in those countries.

The raids are linked to a long-running Russian investigation involving the billionaire businessman, Boris Berezovsky, currently fighting extradition to Russia from London.

The Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office said police searched ten homes and offices, confiscated documents and questioned several people, but nobody was arrested. The raids took place in cantons Bern, Geneva and Vaud.

The Office said the raids are part of an ongoing investigation into the so-called Aeroflot affair, in which Russian businessmen siphoned funds belonging to the airline through firms in Switzerland, France and Cyprus.

A Swiss business consultant based in Cyprus is suspected of helping the suspects launder the money though Switzerland. His identity was not released, but the Office said he was a shareholder in the Swiss firms concerned.

"Swiss firms were involved in the Aeroflot scandal," said Hansjürg Mark Wiedmer, spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office.

"Money from Russia was transferred to Swiss businesses and some of it was then sent back to Russia. In some cases, it was unclear who the money actually belonged to."

Laundering

The Prosecutor's Office said the Cyprus-based intermediary is thought to have played a key role in laundering Aeroflot funds, but that he has not been arrested.

Wiedmer told swissinfo that Switzerland had been giving legal assistance to Russia in connection with the case since 1999.

He added that some SFr90 million ($65 million) had been frozen in Switzerland in connection with the Aeroflot affair.

The case is one of Russia's biggest corruption scandals and involves the Russian billionaire, Boris Berezovsky. He was arrested in London last week and is currently fighting extradition to Russia on fraud charges amounting to $1.9 billion.

Russian prosecutors accuse him of siphoning off $600 million from Aeroflot which he is accused of laundering through Swiss firms. One is the Lausanne-based Anros of which the Cyprus-based businessman is chairman.

Switzerland has handed over mountains of documents related to the Aeroflot affair. In July 2000, an appeal by Berezovsky to the Swiss Federal Court to stop cooperation between Bern and Russia was thrown out, as was Berezovsky's attempt to lift an order blocking the freezing of his accounts in Switzerland.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Police searched homes and offices, confiscated documents and questioned several people, but nobody was arrested.

The raids are linked to the Aeroflot affair, in which Russian businessmen siphoned off funds belonging to the airline through firms in Switzerland, France and Cyprus.

A Swiss business consultant based in Cyprus is suspected of helping the suspects launder money.

Some SFr90 million has been frozen in Switzerland in connection with the case, which involves the Russian billionaire, Boris Berezovsky.

end of infobox


Links

Neuer Inhalt

Horizontal Line


subscription form

Form for signing up for free newsletter.

Sign up for our free newsletter and get the top stories delivered to your inbox.

swissinfo EN

The following content is sourced from external partners. We cannot guarantee that it is suitable for the visually or hearing impaired.

Join us on Facebook!

×