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Report: Swiss banks probed over Venezuela corruption case

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, or FINMA, is investigating several lenders over their possible involvement in a corruption scandal surrounding Venezuela's state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, Reuters reported.

The investigation follows the U.S. Department of Justice declaring charges against five former Venezuelan officials, including former Energy Vice Minister Nervis Villalobos, for allegedly seeking bribes to help vendors secure energy contracts with PDVSA and hiding the money in banks, some of which were in Switzerland.

FINMA said it is in contact with various unnamed Swiss lenders over the issue, adding: "The agency is checking to what extent Swiss banks are involved and if they fulfilled their regulatory obligations."

A U.S. indictment in 2015 relating to the case cited several Credit Suisse Group AG accounts in Switzerland as subject to forfeiture, Reuters noted. The Swiss banking group said it has control mechanisms designed to prevent financial crime.

In 2016, Switzerland agreed to hand over records from at least 18 banks to the U.S. in connection with a corruption investigation focused on PDVSA.