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Two Geneva financiers arrested in Elf affair

Alfred Sirven is accused of stealing millions of francs from Elf, a French oil company Keystone Archive

The Geneva judge investigating the Elf affair has arrested two local financiers. The men are charged with laundering money, which was allegedly stolen from the French oil company by its former number two, Alfred Sirven.

This content was published on May 15, 2001 - 13:20

A third person has also been charged with the same offence, according to Elf's lawyer, Bruno de Preux.

The Geneva judge who ordered the arrests, Paul Perraudin, accuses the three men of helping Sirven move SFr41 million from a bank in Liechtenstein to a Swiss bank in 1996 and 1997. The money was allegedly transported by car. So far, SFr12 million have been seized.

The Geneva authorities launched an investigation on the strength of information supplied by the Liechtenstein authorities. A trial is now the most likely outcome, according to de Preux, who says the accused must have been aware that the money came from illegal transactions.

Alfred Sirven is on trial in France for allegedly distributing millions of dollars in illegal slush funds, which prosecutors say he siphoned off from Elf, when he was second in command at the firm between 1989 and 1993.

Sirven was arrested in the Philippines and extradited to France in February after nearly four years on the run.

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