Four officials from the Swiss branch of Gazprombank will have to answer questions in court next week about dubious accounts of Russian cellist Sergei Roldougin, a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The four men, three Russian nationals and one Swiss, are accused of having breached their verification obligations despite the "
" doubts that these accounts should have raised, indicates the indictment, consulted by the AFP this Thursday.
The trial is due to start in Zurich on March 8.
The public prosecutor requested seven months in prison against the four defendants.
They are accused of having opened and managed two accounts between 2014 and 2016 for the Russian cellist and conductor, through which several million have passed, in particular to collect dividends from a large advertising agency for the Russian media and from Eastern Europe, without having taken the trouble to verify whether he was the legitimate beneficiary of these funds.
However, it was "
" that Sergei Roldougin had such assets "
with his income as a cellist and conductor
", underlines the indictment which establishes a long list of clues which should have aroused suspicion.
The case revolves around assets of around 50 million francs
", (an equivalent sum in euros), underlined the Tribune de Genève, property of the press group Tamedia, which is part of the International Consortium of Journalists of investigation (ICIJ).
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Appearance in the Panama Papers
The Panama Papers, a survey published in 2016 by this consortium, had notably revealed the existence of these accounts.
Finma, the market surveillance authority in Switzerland, then opened a procedure and heavily sanctioned Gazprombank Switzerland, accusing it of not having examined with the necessary care business relationships and transactions with private customers.
Gazprombank Suisse was the subsidiary in the Alpine country of Gazprombank, the financial arm of the Russian gas giant Gazprom.
Banned from the Swiss banking sector after the invasion of Ukraine, it announced that it would end its activities in Switzerland in October 2022. According to the Tribune de Genève, the outcome of the trial is however "difficult to predict
, because “
the Public Ministry must indeed prove that Sergei Roldougin was a straw man
” of the Russian president.