Switzerland compensates Victims in the Case of Allen Stanford
Bern, 10.03.2014 - The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has investigated Switzerland’s connections to the multibillion investment fraud perpetrated by US investment broker Allen Stanford. The criminal investigation on suspicion of money laundering has been closed and all of the assets remaining in Switzerland will be given over to the benefit of the investment fraud victims. The company Stanford Group (Suisse) AG in Liquidation has been punished with a fine of CHF 1 million for aggravated money laundering and sentenced to pay compensatory claims in an amount of somewhere between CHF 6 and 9 million, as well as to bear the costs of the proceedings. The criminal prosecution of the Texan Allen Stanford and his two accomplices has been abandoned on grounds of their conviction in the USA.
Based on the suspicion that a part of the funds that were obtained by means of this investment fraud had made their way into Switzerland, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland opened a criminal investigation into the person of Robert Allen Stanford on 23 February 2009 on suspicion of money laundering. On 27 May 2010, the proceedings were extended to include two additional American nationals, and on 5 June 2013, extended once again to the company Stanford Group (Suisse) AG in Liquidation in view of possible corporate criminal liability in accordance with Art. 102 para. 2 of the Swiss Criminal Code.
With the support of the American judicial authorities, the proof of criminal offences predicate to the act of money laundering was successfully obtained by way of international legal assistance. In return, by way of mutual legal assistance, Switzerland provided the American authorities with banking documents and transcripts of the hearings of Swiss bank employees for use in the criminal proceedings being conducted in the USA.
The OAG has convicted the company Stanford Group (Suisse) AG in Liquidation on charges of aggravated money laundering, imposing a fine of CHF 1 million. In addition, it has ruled for compensatory claims in an amount ranging between CHF 6 and 9 million as settlement for the illegally obtained profits. Both the fine and the compensatory claims will go to the victims of the investment fraud. Lastly, the Company has also been sentenced to bear the costs of the criminal proceedings. The acts of which the Company has been found guilty took place prior to its liquidation.
Moreover, during the course of its investigations, the OAG lifted the freeze imposed on bank accounts in Switzerland representing assets in excess of CHF 200 million. These funds were given over to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) - as representative of the bankruptcy estate of Stanford International Bank Limited, Antigua - to ensure that the victims of Stanford may be compensated in the best possible manner once the bankruptcy procedure has run its course.
All of the parties to the proceedings, including the FINMA and the accused, furthermore agreed that the victims of the Stanford fraud should receive optimal compensation. On the basis of this agreement approved by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the entirety of the funds remaining in Switzerland shall be relinquished to those who have suffered prejudice due to this investment fraud.
In view of the fact that Stanford and his two accomplices were sentenced in the USA to long terms in prison, the criminal proceedings in Switzerland were abandoned.
Address for enquiries
Jeannette Balmer, Spokeswoman OAG, +41 31 324 32 40, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland
Last modification 03.10.2018