September 29, 2023

Ex-MEINL boss Peter Winzierl: ‘key witnesses made millions’

Peter Winzierl speaks for the first time after the extradition sentence. The US indictment accuses the former Meinl banker of money laundering. A conversation about CIA agents, the Secretary of State, two key witnesses, an insolvency manager, and the double game of judiciary.

When he flew into the former RAF Biggin Hill Airport in his private jet, Peter Weinzrell had no idea he would never leave England again. In fact, the longtime president of the now defunct Meinl Bank wanted to fly to a business lunch just on this May day in 2021. But after landing, he was caught on the plane. Turns out, the supposed business partner was a longtime CIA agent who also worked with the FBI.

Only then did the US authorities publish the indictment, which had been kept secret until then. Weinzierl is said to have helped Brazilian construction company Odebrecht pay bribes for land contracts around the world. US prosecutors allege that the banker and another former employee of Meinl helped funnel $170 million into offshore accounts.

The 57-year-old has been stuck in London for more than two years and is fighting extradition to the US, where he faces 70 years in prison. He denies these allegations. His lawyers question the motives of law enforcement in the United States. Early in 2018, the FBI questioned him about the private bank’s dealings with Russians and Ukrainians. Lawyers say the banker, who was based in Moscow at the time, was lured to Great Britain because of his insight into these transactions. The Austrian Financial Markets Authority was also interested in this.

In June of this year, a Westminster Magistrates Court judge ruled in favor of extradition to the United States.

You’re stuck in London for two years. How is life with an ankle bracelet?

Peter Weinzierl: I haven’t worn ankle bracelets in a few months. Actually, it doesn’t make much difference. I used to be constantly on the move—professionally, too. I am now tied to a state and can no longer practice my profession.

In June, the judge announced the verdict in their extradition case. Can you understand an area?

On the other hand, some procedures are valid in order to approve delivery. On the other hand, the actual allegations are not dealt with in depth. If there is an inconsistent fact, the delivery should be refused. In my case, a lot of things just don’t add up. But the judge didn’t care.