Switzerland returns $120 mn of Brazil corruption money

Swiss judicial authorities said Wednesday they have released $120 million (113 million euros) of frozen funds linked to the devastating corruption scandal at Brazilian state oil giant Petrobras.

Geneva: Swiss judicial authorities said Wednesday they have released $120 million (113 million euros) of frozen funds linked to the devastating corruption scandal at Brazilian state oil giant Petrobras.

"The release of over $120 million reflects Switzerland`s clear intention to take a stand against the misuse of its financial centre for criminal purposes and to return funds of criminal origin to their rightful owners," Swiss prosecutors said in a statement.

The funds are the first portion of $400 million of frozen Brazilian assets linked to Petrobras.

"The Swiss criminal proceedings will continue with the aim of holding the perpetrators accountable and establishing the origin of the remaining frozen assets," the statement said.

Dozens of Brazilian political figures, including close allies of President Dilma Rousseff, and former Petrobras executives are under investigation over a kickback and money laundering scheme that saw an estimated $3.8 billion creamed off inflated contracts over a decade.

On Sunday, 1.5 million protesters took to the streets across Brazil in protest over the corruption, with many calling for Rousseff`s impeachment.

In their investigations, the Swiss authorities have uncovered 300 accounts at over 30 banking institutions that were used to process Brazilian bribery payments.

The Swiss proceedings relate to eight Brazilian citizens, as well as other unidentified persons, the statement said.

Switzerland will continue to investigate, said the prosecutors, adding that they have requested Brazil and the Netherlands` assistance in the case.

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