Petrobras – Odebrecht Affair: Around CHF 365 million refunded to Brazil

Bern, 09.04.2019 - The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has so far returned around CHF 365 million to Brazil in the series of Petrobras – Odebrecht related investigations. At a bilateral meeting on 8 April 2019 in Brasilia, the Brazilian Prosecutor General, Raquel Dodge, and Swiss Attorney General, Michael Lauber, discussed the cooperation between their two prosecution services in this affair.

The focus of the yesterday’s meeting between the Brazilian Prosecutor General, Raquel Dodge, and the Attorney General of Switzerland, Michael Lauber, was the valuable cooperation established over recent years between the two authorities in the series of Petrobras – Odebrecht related investigations. The two counterparts signed a joint declaration reaffirming their commitment to continue and intensify their cooperation. International cooperation between the authorities at national and international level is essential to effectively combat global forms of crime, such as international corruption and money laundering.

Following the bilateral meeting, a panel discussion was held in which Sérgio Moro, the Brazilian Minister of Justice and Public Security, also took part.

Swiss criminal proceedings and mutual assistance
The OAG has been conducting investigations since April 2014 in connection with the corruption affair related to the semi-stated-owned Brazilian corporation Petrobras and the Odebrecht conglomerate, primarily on suspicion of aggravated money laundering (Art. 305bis Sec. 2 Swiss Criminal Code (SCC)), and in numerous cases on suspicion of bribery of foreign public officials (Art. 322septies SCC). The series of cases is among one of the most complex the OAG has ever dealt with and is being handled by a task force comprising various internal specialists from branch offices of the OAG, who are working closely with the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) and the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ).

In this series of cases, the OAG has in recent years received reports of suspicious transactions from the Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) involving around 1000 banking relationships. At present around 70 criminal proceedings are pending. Two of these criminal proceedings are against financial institutions in Switzerland on the grounds of suspected deficiencies in their internal organisation by failing to take all reasonable measures required to prevent the commission of offences (Corporate Criminal Liability, Art. 102 para. 2 of the SCC). Around 15 of the criminal proceedings opened by the OAG have been taken over and continued by the relevant Brazilian authorities. In addition, the FOJ has so far delegated around 120 requests for mutual legal assistance from other states, primarily Brazil, to the OAG for execution.   

To date, Switzerland has, with the consent of the beneficial owners concerned, refunded around CHF 365 million in favour of injured parties in Brazil. The most recent instalments amounting to around CHF 9 million was refunded at the end of March 2019. The assets currently seized by the OAG in Switzerland in connection with this series of cases amount to around CHF 700 million.

Address for enquiries

Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland, Communications Service; T +41 58 464 32 40;


Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland