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Switzerland indicts 2 managers of Saudi oil company in Malaysian sovereign fund scandal

April 27, 2023 at 10:26 am

The 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) logo is seen on a billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange under-development site in Kuala Lumpur on July 3, 2015 [MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images]

Switzerland’s public prosecutor has charged two managers of the Saudi oil exploration company, Petro-Saudi, with commercial fraud, aggravated criminal mismanagement and aggravated money laundering as part of a major investigation into the Malaysia Development Berhad Fund (MDB) scandal.

A statement issued by the Swiss prosecution’s office said the defendants were accused of trying to enrich themselves and others by misappropriating at least $1.8 billion transferred to the MDB. The charges were based on events that took place from 2009 until at least 2015, the prosecutors said.

In November 2017, the Swiss Public Prosecutor’s Office launched its investigations into the case, and the charges brought before the Federal Criminal Court in the southern Swiss city of Bellinzona included commercial fraud, running a shady business and money laundering.

The two defendants are accused of creating a “sham” joint venture between Petro-Saudi and the MDB, that would allow them to funnel $700 million to a Swiss company bank account.

READ: Swiss bank collapse wipes out $1.5bn from Saudi investment