Ex-Meinl Bank-Vorstand Peter Weinzierl. (Archivfoto)
NEW YORK / VIENNA / LONDON – Ex-Meinl Bank chief Peter Weinzierl was arrested in Great Britain on Tuesday in connection with a bribery scandal involving Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. This was announced by the US Attorney’s Office accusing Weinzirl of participating in bribery and money laundering.
Weinzirl and Austrian Alexander Waldstein are also accused of laundering Odebrecht and other black money from 2006 to 2016 in order to bribe officials with hundreds of millions of dollars in so-called reptile money. Weinzierl was the managing director of Meinl Bank, which was later renamed Anglo Austria AAB Bank.
Prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, said Weinzirl was arrested in Great Britain at the request of the United States, while Waldstein, also a bank employee, was at large. The attorney general’s office said Weinzirl and Waldstein were also board members of a Minel Bank affiliate in Antigua. The defendants’ lawyers and the bank were not present at the beginning.
Bribes through external accounts
According to prosecutors, the defendants and their accomplices are said to have used fraudulent transactions and bogus contracts to transfer more than $ 170 million from bank accounts in New York through their banks to offshore accounts that Odebrecht kept secretly.
The money is said to have flowed into government officials in Brazil, Mexico and Panama and booked by Odebrecht to reduce profits, leading to the fraud of Brazilian state taxes of more than US $ 100 million.
In December 2016, Odebrecht and its parent company Braskem SA, Brazil’s largest petrochemical company, admitted to taking bribes and agreed to pay $ 3.5 billion to the US and Brazilian regulators. Odebrecht was renamed Novonor SA last December. The Weinzierl et al. A case pending in the Eastern District Court in New York. He has file number 20-cr-00383. (APA / Reuters)