February 26, 2020 / 6:17 PM / a month ago

Swiss court convicts man in Petrobras corruption case

GENEVA, Feb 26 (Reuters) - A court found a Swiss-Brazilian man guilty on Wednesday of complicity in bribery and money laundering, marking Switzerland’s first conviction related to a probe into Brazilian state oil firm Petrobras.

The court said the case related to payments worth more than $35 million made between 2007 and 2014 via mediators in Switzerland and Brazil to Petrobras employees. It did not specify on whose behalf the payments were made.

“The judge pronounces Bernardo Schiller Freiburghaus guilty of complicity in bribing foreign agents, of aggravated money laundering in Switzerland and Brazil, and regular money laundering in Switzerland and Portugal,” the ruling said.

He was handed a suspended 16-month custodial sentence and ordered to pay 1.6 million Swiss franc ($1.64 million) in fines and to pay trial costs, the judgment said.

“My client is happy to have turned the page and to resume a normal life,” said his lawyer, Christian Luscher, adding that the sentence was expected and that there would be no appeal.

Swiss federal prosecutors in October pressed charges against the Swiss-Brazilian dual national in the probe of Petrobras and construction firm Odebrecht, seeking a quick conclusion.

The Petrobras-Odebrecht case has led to around 60 criminal proceedings in Switzerland, while more than 130 businessmen and politicians have been convicted in the case in Brazil.

The Swiss attorney general has seized assets in Switzerland worth more than 620 million Swiss francs and returned around 390 million francs to the Brazilian authorities.

$1 = 0.9763 Swiss francs Reporting by Michael Shields and Emma Farge; Editing by Edmund Blair

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