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  HOME | Brazil (Click here for more)

Spanish-Swiss Banker to Be Held in Petrobras Corruption Case

SAO PAULO – A banker with dual Spanish-Swiss nationality was taken on Tuesday to a prison in Curitiba, a city in southern Brazil, where he will be held in preventive detention while authorities investigate his alleged role in the corruption case involving state-controlled oil company Petrobras.

David Muino Suarez was arrested Monday morning in Sao Paulo and is being held under an order issued by Judge Sergio Moro on Oct. 3 and kept sealed until now.

Moro is in charge of the so-called Lava Jato (Car Wash) investigation targeting a vast corruption network centered on Petrobras.

Muino Suarez, manager of Zurich-based BSI bank, was detained at the international airport in Guarulhos, outside Sao Paulo, after arriving on a flight from Europe.

The banker was transferred on Tuesday to the Federal Police station in Curitiba, the capital of Parana, where he will be held while investigators gather evidence in the case.

Prosecutors allege that Muino Suarez acted “as a representative of Banco BSI along with Mossack Fonseca in opening offshore (entities) used to open accounts at BSI (Switzerland) for Brazilian clients.”

The Attorney General’s Office suspects that Muino Suarez executed transactions to cover up bribes received by Eduardo Cunha, a former speaker of the lower house of Congress and one of the highest-profile politicians to be sentenced to prison in the Lava Jato case.

“There are elements that indicate his criminal participation in conduct to cover up and hide the transactions,” the AG’s office said.

Muino Suarez was a BSI relationship manager and engaged in suspicious transactions, including some that could potentially qualify as money laundering, prosecutors allege.

The banker knew the origins of the funds and pariticipated in managing the assets, prosecutors said.

Several engineering and construction firms are accused in the Lava Jato case of paying bribes to Petrobras officials in exchange for inflated contracts.

Extra money from the scheme was allegedly paid out to politicians who provided cover for the graft.

An aggressive investigation that started in 2014 has led to prison terms for dozens of executives and politicians involved in the $2 billion bribes-for-inflated-contracts scheme.

Among those caught up in the corruption scandal was former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was sentenced on July 12 to nine years and six months in prison in connection with the Petrobras scheme.

On Aug. 1, the Brazilian Attorney General’s Office extended the investigation for another year.

 

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