Former Raiffeisen Switzerland CEO sentenced to prison for corruption

Former Raiffeisen Switzerland CEO Pierin Vincenz was sentenced today to almost four years in prison after a court found him guilty of fraud and other charges.

The case caught the attention of the whole country with allegations of fraudulent transactions and huge bills in a strip club.

In one of the country’s most iconic corporate crime cases in decades, the Zurich District Court convicted Vincenz, a former Swiss “banker of the year”, on charges of making millions through illegal deals while he was chief executive.

He has been acquitted on many charges and can appeal the verdict.

All seven defendants in the case have denied the charges against them, Reuters added.

Prosecutors are seeking the restitution of a total of nearly 70 million Swiss francs ($ 75 million) as assets of the seven defendants, as well as prosecution for financial penalties and two to six years in prison for all but one.

The case focused on conflicts of interest and falsifications in transactions between many companies in which Vincenz and another defendant were involved.

The trial was moved from the courthouse to the Folkshaus Theater in Zurich due to strong public interest.

In the course of the case, there was talk of alleged abuse of the 65-year-old man with corporate expenses. Vincenz explained to the court that the bill of nearly 200,000 Swiss francs for visits to strip clubs is largely business-related. A 700-franc dinner with a woman he met on the Tinder dating app was justified because he was considering hiring her for real estate.

The former Credit Suisse employee said she was not even a banker

The former employee of the second-largest Swiss bank Credit Suisse, who allegedly helped a group around Evelin Banev-Brendo to launder millions of euros from drug trafficking, told the court that at the time of her appointment she did not have any qualifications as a financier. Moreover, the actions that the prosecution is now accusing her of were simply following orders from its leaders.

Her limited training was limited to “focusing on promoting the bank”. She does not remember details of the procedures used by the prosecutor’s office to launder money on a particularly large scale. In a June 2005 e-mail, her boss wrote to colleagues following the murder and allegations of links to the Spanish cocaine mafia. It said “we have decided to continue the relationship” because the short and inaccurate “article linking the murder to Spanish cocaine traffickers remains a single and isolated case, unconfirmed and not covered by other media”. Asked who these “we” were, E. replied, “The management, the higher levels of management decided it. It’s not me.”

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