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Swiss court orders UBS to release Malaysian corruption records

Swiss court orders UBS to release Malaysian corruption records

LAUSANNE (SWITZERLAND) In November 2014, Swiss prosecutors confiscated confidential bank records on UBS’ relationship with Musa Aman, a Malaysian politician involved in a US$ 90 million corruption scandal. Musa has been accused of collecting bribes for the granting of concessions for logging of tropical rainforests in Malaysian Borneo. The payments, some of which were earmarked as "deposits for logging concessions" were collected through UBS bank accounts in Singapore and Hong Kong. Following a complaint under criminal law by the Bruno Manser Fonds, the Swiss Attorney General's office opened criminal proceedings against the bank in 2012.

Despite its public announcement that it was fully cooperating with the investigation, UBS had key documents on its relationship with Musa Aman sealed and refused to share them with the prosecutors. The bank argued that no accused could be forced to testify against itself, an argument which the Swiss federal court refused to follow in this case. The court stated that the investigation of this grave case of international corruption and money-laundering justified the release of the relevant bank records to the prosecutors. The judges also said that bank records field for regulatory purposes must be made available to prosecutors in criminal proceedings.

The Bruno Manser Fund welcomes this important decision by the Swiss Federal Court and expects that UBS will be charged for money-laundering in the Musa Aman case within the next weeks.

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