Juan Carlos Sampaio case of alleged money-laundering ended

Swiss Federal Office of Justice announces that its plea agreement with the former Conservative party president Juan Carlos Sampaio may not have been disclosed to banking authorities by officials Swiss prosecutors have ended a…

Juan Carlos Sampaio case of alleged money-laundering ended

Swiss Federal Office of Justice announces that its plea agreement with the former Conservative party president Juan Carlos Sampaio may not have been disclosed to banking authorities by officials

Swiss prosecutors have ended a case of alleged money-laundering brought against former Conservative party president Juan Carlos Sampaio.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) announced on Wednesday that its decision was based on an “act of carelessness” and that its plea agreement with Sampaio may not have been disclosed to banking authorities.

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“[The] unfavourable provisional decision in the case was made, in particular, due to the reckless disclosure of the partial information to the correspondent in Latvia by the public prosecutor in Zurich and the statements of the [defendant] in the plea agreement,” the FOJ said in a statement.

Sampaio spent 40 months in a Swiss jail before Swiss prosecutors dropped their case in 2012 for lack of evidence.

Sampaio had also agreed to pay CHF150,000 to charitable foundations to settle claims brought against him by Swiss justice authorities. Sampaio maintained all along that all of the money was donated to charities.

In the statement, the FOJ said it made its decision to grant the former politician a provisional pardon at a January session only after Sampaio and his lawyer were not informed that the court was about to rule against him. The FOJ found that the admission of the offence may have been made in a confidential hearing with the court, which it concluded was likely due to a “lack of attention paid by the prosecution”.

The Swiss courts also concluded that the appeal to the plea agreement that Sampaio, his wife and accountant jointly signed in 2015 cannot be admitted as evidence as they were too voluntary in agreeing to the settlement with the FOJ. The appeals court is expected to make a final ruling on the issue by 14 June.

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