Petrobras – Odebrecht Affair: First indictment filed
Bern, 22.10.2019 - In connection with the series of Petrobras – Odebrecht related investigations, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has filed its first indictment with the Federal Criminal Court under accelerated proceedings against an individual on the charge of complicity in the bribery of foreign public officials and of money laundering.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) opened criminal proceedings against an individual of Swiss and Brazilian origin in October 2015. The OAG suspects this person, in particular in the course of his activity as a financial intermediary, of having committing the offences of complicity in the bribery of foreign public officials (Art. 322septies Swiss Criminal Code [SCC] in connection with Art. 25 SCC) and simple and aggravated money laundering (Art. 305bis Sections 1 and 2 SCC). The suspected offences are in the context of an international corruption affair involving, among others, the state-owned Brazilian corporation Petrobras and the Brazilian company Odebrecht. The OAG concluded its investigations into this particular case by submitting an indictment under the accelerated procedure (Art. 360 Swiss Criminal Procedure Code) to the Federal Criminal Court (FCC).
The good bilateral cooperation with the Brazilian and Portuguese prosecuting authorities has contributed to this result. Criminal proceedings for money laundering of funds derived from corruption had already been opened in Brazil and Portugal against the same individual. The matters being investigated in the Brazilian and Portuguese cases fell under Switzerland’s territorial scope of application (Art. 3 and 7 SCC). Switzerland has accepted the delegation of the proceedings from the Brazilian and Portuguese authorities to prevent multiple parallel investigations.
As always, the presumption of innocence applies to all suspects until the final judgment has been pronounced. A soon as the indictment is filed, the FCC alone is competent to provide any further information.
Thus far, some 60 criminal proceedings are pending at the OAG in connection with the Petrobras – Odebrecht affair; these include two cases against financial institutions in Switzerland.
Around 15 criminal proceedings that were initiated by the OAG have been taken over by the Brazilian authorities with the intention of continuing the prosecution.
The OAG has so far seized assets in Switzerland amounting to over CHF 620 million. With the agreement of the parties concerned, over CHF 390 million has already been returned to the Brazilian authorities.
In parallel to the investigations conducted by the OAG, the FOJ has now delegated some 150 requests for mutual legal assistance from different countries, primarily Brazil, to the OAG for execution.
Accelerated proceedings (Art. 358 ff. Swiss Criminal Procedure Code):
Accelerated proceedings make it possible, subject to certain requirements, to conclude a case more quickly. The accused must admit his or her guilt and accept the civil claims, at least in principle. The accepted facts of the case serve as the basis for the indictment, which must be approved by both the accused and by the complainants. The indictment is then submitted to the court in the form of a proposed judgment. The court assesses whether it is lawful and appropriate to conduct accelerated proceedings, whether the charges are consistent with the outcome of the main hearing and the case files, and whether the requested sanctions are reasonable. If the court decides that the requirements for accelerated proceedings have been met, the indictment is transformed into its judgment. If not, the file is forwarded to the Public Prosecutor's Office to initiate an ordinary proceedings.
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