No justice from the Swiss

We at the Angolan human rights NGO, Associacao Maos Livres, and Corruption Watch UK, a London-based anti-corruption organisation, are deeply disappointed that Swiss Federal prosecutors have decided not to reopen investigations into a corrupt Russian-Angolan debt deal in which senior politicians, officials and middlemen made hundreds of millions of dollars at the expense of the taxpayers of the two countries.

February 13th, 2014

We at the Angolan human rights NGO, Associacao Maos Livres, and Corruption Watch UK, a London-based anti-corruption organisation, are deeply disappointed that Swiss Federal prosecutors have decided not to reopen investigations into a corrupt Russian-Angolan debt deal in which senior politicians, officials and middlemen made hundreds of millions of dollars at the expense of the taxpayers of the two countries.

This decision, and the reasons given for it, calls into question the commitment of Swiss officials to meaningfully address financial malfeasance perpetrated by politically prominent people and dubious businesspeople, facilitated by Swiss financial institutions.

 contains crucial new information that was not available to prosecutors in Geneva who have previously examined this matter. This includes considerably more detail on beneficiaries of the money diverted from the debt transaction (who included President Dos Santos and a number of his close colleagues), important additional information relating to the testimony of an expert witness and an entire additional dimension to the transaction, which resulted in the intermediaries engaging in legal battles against each other.

In addition, we were disturbed by the attitude of Swiss officials during the brief detention in Switzerland of one of the key intermediaries in the deal.

When Arcadi Gaydamak, a Russian-Israeli previously convicted in the Angolagate scandal, was detained by Swiss authorities, a Geneva-based lawyer requested of the Federal prosecutor that Gaydamak be interviewed in relation to the Angola-Russia debt deal. and Gaydamak was released a few days later. This was also despite the fact that Gaydamak is wanted by French authorities for failing to serve the jail sentence handed down in the Angolagate scandal.

We call on the Swiss authorities to reconsider their decision in the corrupt Angola-Russia debt deal matter and to significantly enhance their efforts to curb the facilitation of financial malfeasance by Swiss institutions.

We will look to all other legal avenues to pursue justice in this matter that resulted in Angolan and Russian taxpayers losing in excess of $1billion while senior politicians, officials and various intermediaries personally benefitted to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

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