USD 15 million handed over to USA

Funds to be repaid to victims

Press Release, FOJ, 01.06.2011

Berne. In response to a mutual assistance request from the USA, the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) has ordered the handover of approx. USD 15 million. The funds were transferred to an account in the USA yesterday, and will be paid back to the victims of a large-scale fraud involving forged software.

The FOJ had originally frozen the funds, which were held with a bank in Geneva, on 10 July 2008, in response to a request for mutual assistance in criminal matters lodged by the USA. The bank account contained a share of the proceeds of a large-scale fraud involving forged software. Simplified proceedings enabled bank documents to be handed over to the US authorities as early as 3 October 2008. On 31 March 2009, the FOJ confirmed the asset freeze pending the return of the funds to the USA. The Federal Criminal Court upheld this decision in its judgment of 8 March 2010 (RR.2009.159).

Further to a legally enforceable seizure order from the competent court in this case, the District Court for the Southern District of New York, the US authorities applied on 22 October 2010 to have the assets returned so that the victims of the fraud could be compensated for their losses. In its decision of 24 January 2011, the FOJ concluded that all of the conditions for restitution are fulfilled. After its decision became legally enforceable, the FOJ was able to take the necessary steps to have the assets returned.

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