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New Money-Laundering Allegations Against Bodmer

Bloomberg’s David Glovin, who provided outstanding daily coverage of Frederic Bourke’s 2009 FCPA-related trial, filed a story yesterday about new money laundering allegations against a key government witness, Hans Bodmer.

The Swiss lawyer was accused in August by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska of ‘masterminding a scheme last year to loot OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel, a nickel producer in which Deripaska invests.’ The complaint alleged that Bodmer ‘orchestrated a $1 billion money-laundering scheme.’

In October 2004, Bodmer pleaded guilty in the U.S. to conspiracy to launder money for Viktor Kozeny. Although facing up to ten years in prison, Bodmer hasn’t been sentenced and was allowed to return to Switzerland. In June he was appointed to the board of Hyposwiss Private Bank Zurich.

Bodmer, 56, helped FCPA fugitive Kozeny move money that was used to bribe Azeri officials. Bodmer’s testimony supported the DOJ’s claim that Bourke invested in Kozeny’s Azeri deal while knowing Kozeny planned to bribe officials there.

A jury convicted Bourke in July 2009 of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and lying to FBI agents. He was sentenced to a year and a day in prison. He’s free on bail while he appeals his conviction.

Bourke’s lawyers have charged that Bodmer lied in his testimony. They said prosecutors knew some of Bodmer’s testimony would be false but put him on the stand anyway. Bourke’s motion for a new trial will be heard November 10.

Kozeny is a fugitive living in the Bahamas. He won court decisions there blocking his extradition to the U.S. The Bahamas attorney general has appealed to the Privy Council in London, where arguments will be heard on November 23.

Bloomberg’s Glovin said the ‘new allegations against Bodmer came in an August complaint to Swiss prosecutors by Deripaska and a unit of United Co. Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer. Swiss authorities haven’t open a criminal case and declined to comment, Glovin said.

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