Legal Developments

  • 21 August 2012 – Confirmation that the forfeiture of the Swiss bank account of a Brazilian Judge was not statute-barred  Switzerland, Brazil

    Former President of the Regional Labour Court of Sao Paulo Nicolau dos Santos Neto had been convicted in Brazil in 2002 for fraud, embezzlement, corruption, unfaithful management and money laundering in the context of the works of the new court building he supervised between 1992 and 1998, for a total cost of US$165 million, of which at least US$86 million was embezzled and US$6.8 million was paid to a Geneva bank account owned by dos Santos between 1991 and 1994. In parallel with the Brazilian criminal proceedings, the Attorney General of Geneva initiated criminal proceedings for money laundering in 2000, to which the Federative Republic of Brazil participated as party suing for damages (represented by FraudNet member for Switzerland, Monfrini Crettol & Associés, Geneva). Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the Attorney General of Geneva issued in 2009 a non-conviction based forfeiture order against the bank account and allocated the forfeited assets to Brazil as the victim of the crimes. The order was opposed and appealed against by dos Santos, who notably claimed that the forfeiture was statute-barred. In a decision 6B_688/2011 of 21 August 2012 (in French), the Federal Court, Switzerland’s supreme court, ruled that when assets in Switzerland which are the proceeds of crimes committed abroad are forfeited, the applicable statute of limitation is that of the predicate offence under the law of the jurisdiction where that predicate offence took place. Visit our Resources and Publications pages for material on the same topics: Corruption, Forfeiture, Money Laundering, (from FraudNet member for Switzerland, Yves Klein, of Monfrini Crettol & Associés, Geneva).

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