Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Friday, 16 October 2020

Sons of French former PM investigated over hidden Swiss funds

France’s National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) is investigating the sons of the deceased former prime minister Raymond Barre over allegations of money laundering and tax evasion tied to funds hidden in Switzerland, Mediapart reports.

The investigation, which the PNF launched in 2016, concerns roughly 11 million Swiss francs (US$12 million) held in a Credit Suisse bank account that Barre left to his sons, Olivier and Nicolas Barre, after his death in 2007.

The matter first came to light in 2013 after an anonymous informant reportedly handed over a screenshot of Credit Suisse’s internal network, revealing Raymond Barre’s name, an account number and the funds stored in the account.

The Barres deny wrongdoing.

Iranian CEO sentenced to prison over sanctions-dodging scheme

The federal court in Minneapolis, Minnesota, sentenced the CEO of an Iran-based financial services company to 23 months in prison on 15 October for orchestrating a scheme that allowed citizens of the sanctioned Middle Eastern country to make illegal purchases in the US, the US Justice Department announced.

Seyed Shahidian pleaded guilty in June to a single count of defrauding the US over his role setting up PAYMENTS24 which helped Iranian citizens make banned purchases and transactions in the US.

“Today’s sentence should discourage other would-be sanctions violators from following in Mr Shahidian’s footsteps,” said Assistant Attorney General for national security John Demers in a statement.

Shahidian was arrested in the UK in 2018 and extradited to the US in May.

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