Swiss help Kenya in bribery probe

8th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Investigators block CHF 1 billion in bank accounts linked to bribery.

GENEVA - Swiss authorities said Tuesday they were helping a Kenyan anti-corruption probe, after a newspaper reported that investigators froze bank accounts linked to a major bribery scandal in Kenya.

The Neue Zurcher Zeitung reported that the probe into the Anglo Leasing scandal focused on about CHF 1 billion (USD 885 million, EUR 655 million) of Kenyan state contracts, including for weapons and police helicopters.

Kenyan investigators suspect about half of that amount was sent to a network of offshore front companies, while about CHF 170 million reached bank accounts in the Swiss city of Geneva, at Schroder Bank, HSBC Private Bank and UBS, it added.

A spokeswoman for the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's office said in a statement e-mailed to AFP that assistance was being provided to Kenya's Anti-Corruption Commission, but declined to give any details.

"The execution of legal assistance is still ongoing," spokeswoman Walburga Bur said.

The NZZ said Kenya also asked the FBI and Interpol for help in the case, while Swiss authorities blocked accounts in Geneva and seized documents during their probe into suspected money laundering.

A network of accountants and financial services firms in Geneva were allegedly involved in the affair with connections reaching into the British Virgin Islands and Guernsey, the daily reported.

The 1997 Anglo Leasing scandal involved the payment of more than USD 250 million in government funds to false firms for high-tech passports and police forensics labs.

It is one of several unresolved bribery cases that hurt the Kenyan government's campaign against corruption in the country.

AFP / Expatica

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