Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland: Annual Report 2018
Bern, 29.04.2019 - As its 2018 Annual Report explains, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) is dealing with ever more complex and extensive criminal investigations and mutual assistance proceedings in today’s globally networked environment. The importance of requests for mutual assistance has grown accordingly. The OAG is required to work more closely with other authorities at both national and international levels and to use new working methods, such as deploying specialised multi-disciplinary task forces.
At the end of 2018, the OAG was involved in 407 (previous year: 478) ongoing criminal investigations. The number of investigations that are more than two years old could have been reduced to 205 (234) in the report year, while 182 (237) new investigations were opened. The OAG filed 10 (21) indictments in the Federal Criminal Court and 13 (25) indictments in ordinary proceedings in the form of summary penalty orders; it also issued a further 170 (788) summary penalty orders. This substantial fall in such orders is primarily due to the end of motorway vignette cases, which became subject to cantonal jurisdiction on 1 January 2018. In addition, in 2018 the OAG and the Federal Criminal Court ordered asset forfeitures and made compensation awards amounting to CHF 791 million (245).
The processing of international requests for mutual assistance is becoming increasingly important: at the end of 2018 a total of 313 (307) mutual assistance proceedings were ongoing; 223 (187) requests for mutual assistance were dealt with and 233 (167) new requests for mutual assistance were received.
In total, the OAG processed 1832 (1161) incoming communications in the report year on the widest variety of matters.
International dimension to cases and to cooperation
In its role as a federal prosecution authority, the OAG has to deal with an increasingly complex and extensive range of criminal investigations and mutual assistance proceedings in today’s globally networked environment. The general situation and the demands that it brings require the continuous adaptation of the working methods that the prosecution authorities use. Alongside the various areas of criminal law that have developed into genuine joint tasks for the federal and cantonal authorities, closer international networking and cooperation have become indispensable – not least in the field of mutual assistance. A growing number of interviews with suspects and witnesses are conducted by video link and extensive case complexes are being handled by multi-disciplinary task forces.
Cases of public interest
At the end of 2018, the OAG was involved in more than 700 ongoing criminal investigations and mutual assistance proceedings. In the report year, the most complex and extensive cases, and those that generated the greatest public interest were once again the investigations in connection with Petrobras/Odebrecht, 1MDB and football.
In addition to these large case complexes, media interest also focused on state security, combating terrorism, organised crime, insider trading, international criminal law and cybercrime, and on various criminal investigations related to these fields of criminal activity.
Note on the coordination meetings between the heads of the OAG and FIFA in connection with the football investigations:
In November 2018, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) disclosed that in early 2016 Attorney General Michael Lauber held two coordination meetings with the then newly elected FIFA president Gianni Infantino. In response, the Supervisory Authority for the Office of the Attorney General (SA-OAG) issued a recommendation to the OAG at the end of 2018 that meetings involving senior officials should in future be documented in the interests of transparency, even if they are not connected with any criminal investigation. As this recommendation was implemented in 2019 and not in 2018, this matter is not part of the 2018 Annual Report.
Address for enquiries
Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland, Communications Service, T +41 58 464 32 40, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland