Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland: 2016 Annual Report
Bern, 05.04.2017 - 2016 was dominated for the Office of the Attorney General by major sets of proceedings in the area of international white-collar crime, proceedings in the area of jihad-motivated terrorism and by the implementation of the OAG’s strategy for the 2016 - 2019 period. In terms of administration, the focus was on the adjustment of the OAG's organisation to the strategy and the creation of new governance structures. The OAG was also involved in the two country tests conducted by GRECO (Group of States against Corruption) and the FATF (Financial Action Task Force).
Combating jihad-based terrorism again required many resources in the reporting year. In spring 2016 the Federal Criminal Court convicted three Iraqi nationals, among other things, of participating in or in one case supporting a criminal organisation and various violations of the Swiss Foreign Nationals Act. In particular, the OAG had accused them of preparing a terrorist attack in Europe. The court confirmed that the organisation of the IS constitutes a criminal organisation within the meaning of Article 260ter Swiss Criminal Code. The motive of planning to import in the occidental cultural area their own political and religious world order and combat ideology by means of a ruthless strategy of violence was deemed to be particularly objectionable.
In another case, a 25-year-old Swiss national was found guilty of violating Article 2 IS Act. The accused was arrested on his departure at Zurich Airport and confessed during the criminal investigation that he had planned to travel to Syria to the war zone of the organisation of “Islamic State” (IS). The complaint of the man against the judgment of the Federal Criminal Court has been dismissed in the meantime.
In the area of white-collar crime, the OAG continued to be occupied with major sets of proceedings. Proceedings teams assembled across departments were deployed to handle these cases. The focus was on the sets of Petrobas/Odebrecht, 1MDB and Football. Furthermore, numerous proceedings were brought to a conclusion, including some older cases.
In the case of financier Behring, the Federal Criminal Court upheld the rulings of the OAG and sentenced the accused to a prison term of 5.5 years for commercial fraud. The OAG thereby successfully completed a long-standing proceedings, subject to appeal before the Federal Supreme Court.
Facts & figures
The OAG referred 17 charges to the Federal Criminal Court in the reporting year, 3 of which in summary proceedings. The OAG issued 1094 penal orders. This constitutes an increase of some 50%. As a penal order is imposed on a person, it is therefore possible that several penal orders are imposed in one proceedings. The number of criminal investigations pending as at the end of the year (441) remained flat. 193 new requests for international mutual legal assistance were received (previous year: 145). A total of 193 requests were processed (144).
Collaboration with international and national partners
In parallel with the increasing complexity of the cases, the good interconnection among law-enforcement authorities is becoming more relevant. For instance, the OAG participated or was tested in the country tests of GRECO (Group of States against Corruption) and the FATF (Financial Action Task Force). Within the framework of the OECD, the OAG is a member of the Working Group on Bribery (WGB). Switzerland is currently also being subjected to a country test here. At a national level, the OAG is working closely with the Federal Office of Police fedpol. In the area of prosecuting stock exchange crimes, the OAG and the Federal Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) have set out their collaboration in a memorandum of understanding and implemented it in practice in several cases.
Furthermore, in the reporting year the Attorney General headed up the working group appointed by the Criminal Law Committee of the Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Directors (KKJPD), which has developed proposals for an adjustment to the punitive standard regarding criminal organisations (Article 260ter Criminal Code, StGB; SR 311.0) and a new terrorism punitive standard.
2016 – 2019 strategy and adjustment to governance structures
As of 1 February 2016, the structural organisation derived from the new strategy came into force. The number of departments was reduced and is now organised by crime or competence areas. The National Security, Terrorism, Organised Crime (STK), White-Collar Crime (WiKri) and Mutual Legal Assistance, International Criminal Law departments conduct the criminal proceedings in the corresponding crime area and fulfil the core tasks of the OAG. The WiKri department is structured locally at the offices in Berne, Lausanne, Lugano and Zurich. The Forensic Financial Analysis (FFA) department provides its services directly in the criminal proceedings by analysing specific economic matters.
Furthermore, the Staff as well as IT & Central Services areas were merged to form the General Secretariat. This created the foundation for an optimised alignment of the services of the support organisation to the needs of the management and operating organisational units.
Address for enquiries
André Marty, Head of External relations of the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland, +41 58 464 32 40; firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland