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SWITZERLAND: THE FIRST CRIMINAL TRIAL AGAINST CORPORATE CORRUPTION SET TO UNFOLD


Switzerland Court and Oil

On 6 December 2023, Trafigura Beheer BV, a commodity trading company, was formally charged by the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland with a foreign bribery offense. The company is expected to appear before the Swiss Federal Criminal Court later in 2024. The indictment centers on allegations of bribery of foreign public officials to secure contracts associated with ventures within the Angolan petroleum industry. Trafigura is suspected of failing to take all reasonable and necessary organizational measures to prevent the commission of such an offense.


This indictment marks a consequential milestone in the landscape of Swiss anti-corruption legislation. Since the introduction of corporate criminal liability in 2003, instances of companies being prosecuted for foreign bribery have exclusively resulted in non-trial resolutions. The impending Trafigura trial is eagerly anticipated as it constitutes the first occasion wherein a court is tasked to clarify the circumstances under which a company can be held liable for foreign bribery.


Source: Trafigura charged in Switzerland over alleged Angola corruption, SwissInfo (December 6, 2023) https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/trafigura-charged-in-switzerland-over-alleged-angola-corruption/49034302



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