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Swiss prosecutors investigate Banque Cramer over Brazil 'Car Wash' probe

ZURICH, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Swiss federal prosecutors said on Thursday they had opened a criminal investigation of Geneva-based Banque Cramer & Cie as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe surrounding Brazilian state oil company Petrobras and construction firm Odebrecht.

“The (Office of the Attorney General) suspects a lack of internal organisation of the bank that would not have allowed it to prevent the commission of the offence of money laundering,” the agency said, confirming a report by online site Gotham City.

Banque Cramer declined to comment.

The Swiss Attorney General’s office said it had around 40 criminal proceedings pending in the Petrobras-Odebrecht affair, of which three are against financial institutions in Switzerland.

Prosecutors said a year ago they had opened an investigation of private bank J. Safra Sarasin as part of the probe.

Swiss financial watchdog FINMA said in 2018 that PKB Privatbank SA Lugano committed serious breaches of money laundering regulations in business linked to Petrobras and Odebrecht.

The so-called Car Wash probe began in 2014 with the arrest of a currency dealer and mushroomed into Brazil’s biggest graft scandal, mainly involving Petrobras contracts in which some 200 business executives, officials and politicians have been convicted.

A Swiss court in February found a Swiss-Brazilian man guilty of complicity in bribery and money laundering, marking Switzerland’s first conviction related to the probe. (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz and Michael Shields. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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