ZURICH, April 5 The Swiss attorney general's
office (OAG) has now confiscated $1 billion worth of assets
linked to Brazil's scandal-plagued oil firm Petrobras, up from
$800 million seized through 2015, it said on Wednesday.
The rising figure was disclosed in Attorney General Michael
Lauber's 2016 annual report, in which his agency outlined
efforts to tackle not only global corruption, but also domestic
financial crime and Islamist extremism.
Lauber's three-year investigation into state-owned Petrobas
and construction group Odebrecht has targeted
Brazilian officials who used Swiss bank accounts to stash bribes
paid in exchange for public projects.
So far, more than 1,000 Swiss accounts have been examined,
Lauber said, including from Brazil's former speaker of the lower
house, Eduardo Cunha, who last month was sentenced to more than
15 years in prison.
In his report, Lauber once again acknowledged his probe of
Malaysia's scandal-hit state fund 1MDB has been hampered by
Malaysian authorities' refusal to cooperate.
But Switzerland's top enforcement officer reiterated that
other countries are helping to resolve billions of dollars in
suspected misappropriations involving fund employees, banks and
officials from Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
Lauber's office is also pursuing a corruption investigation
against Sepp Blatter, ex-president of the world soccer body
FIFA, and German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer for his role in
his country's tarnished bid for the 2006 World Cup.
The 2016 report separately outlined the AG's probes against
Islamists and so-called "jihad tourism," including prosecutions
of three Iraqi nationals for supporting illegal organisations as
well as a 25-year-old Swiss who sought to travel to Syria to
join Islamic State.
Switzerland is getting more queries for help from abroad,
with Lauber's office fielding 193 new requests for international
legal assistance last year, up from 145 in 2015, according to
In just four cases did the AG's office refuse assistance.
"With the increasing complexity of the cases, the good
interconnection among law-enforcement authorities is becoming
more relevant," Lauber's office said.
(Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Tom Heneghan)