Swiss unfreeze more millions in Petrobras affair

The case surrounding the oil company is thought to be one of the largest corruption scandals in Brazil’s history. Keystone

Switzerland is to unblock a further $70 million (CHF67 million) of assets frozen in the Petrobras price-fixing scandal and return them to Brazil. The international corruption affair involves the Brazilian oil company, which is semi-owned by the state.

This content was published on March 17, 2016

The Swiss attorney general, Michael Lauber and his Brazilian counterpart, Rodrigo Janot met in Bern on Thursday and came to an agreement. The money had been frozen while a number of investigations were carried out in Switzerland. Around $800 million in assets were originally frozen. In spring last year, $120 million of frozen assets were released.

The money, which had been stashed in Swiss accounts, was “for the most part ostensibly held by domiciliary companies”, though the beneficiaries were senior executives from Petrobras or its suppliers, other companies (both directly and indirectly) and Brazilian politicians.

A joint investigation team will be assembled to speed up the investigations being carried out in the two countries.

The office of the Attorney General in Switzerland has so far received 340 reports of “suspicious banking relations” from the Money Laundering Reporting Office in relation to the corruption affair, according to a statement released by the office on Thursday.

The Attorney General has opened up 60 criminal cases in response to these reports, focusing on the suspicion of aggravated money laundering and of bribery of foreign public officials. Two of the cases have been taken over by the Brazilian authorities, and Switzerland plans to request that the same course of action be taken for some other open cases.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Weekly top stories

Keep up to date with the best stories from SWI on a range of topics, straight into your mailbox.


The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.