Swiss seize millions, charge 7 in Czech energy case

24th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Switzerland said Monday it was freezing 600 million francs in assets and charging seven people in connection with an allegedly illegal takeover of one of the Czech Republic's biggest energy firms.

Switzerland had first opened a probe into the case in 2005, the attorney general's office said in a statement.

After six years of investigation, prosecutors said they had sufficient proof to charge "the directors of the company, ... with having set up a particularly complex structure in different countries, including Switzerland, in order to misappropriate the company's assets for private purposes."

The move had allowed these individuals to take over the energy firm "without having to spend a cent."

A significant part of the embezzled assets were transferred to Switzerland to be laundered, added prosecutors.

One hundred bank accounts have been identified to be linked to the case, and as a precautionary measure, Switzerland has seized 600 million francs (488 million euros, $678 million).

When contacted, the attorney general's office declined to identify the energy firm.

© 2011 AFP

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