Swiss banks face US money-laundering probe, again


Switzerland has agreed to turn over records from at least 18 banks involving Venezuela’s state oil firm, Petroleos de Venezuela, which is the subject of a widening corruption probe by the US Department of Justice, according to Swiss regulators.

Among the banks are UBS, EFG Bank, and CBH Compagnie Bancaire Helvetique, said a person briefed on the matter. Spokespeople for the banks declined to comment.

None of the 18, whose names have not been disclosed, has been accused of wrongdoing.

The development is the latest twist in a wide-ranging investigation that US authorities say has revealed evidence of bribery at PDVSA, the linchpin of Venezuela’s oil industry, as well as at Bandes, the nation’s economic development bank.

The Swiss bank records are being sought by US attorney Preet Bharara in connection with his office’s investigation into representatives of Derwick Associates, a Venezuelan energy firm that has done business with PDVSA, the Federal Office of Justice in Bern said.

Mr Bharara’s request means records of any wire transactions between the 18 banks and individuals or firms suspected of criminal conduct in Venezuela will be given to federal prosecutors in New York.

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