Credit Suisse finds no wrongdoing by ex-banker linked to Brazil probe

jueves 16 de junio de 2016 12:46 GYT

By Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Tatiana Bautzer

SAO PAULO, June 16 (Reuters) - Credit Suisse Group AG said an internal investigation has found no evidence that a former banker, Sérgio Firmeza Machado, used his position at the bank to help his father funnel illicit campaign donations to Brazilian politicians as part of a sweeping corruption scandal.

Firmeza Machado's father Sérgio, a former senior executive at state oil firm Petróleo Brasileiro SA , has told prosecutors he helped raise at least 100 million reais ($29 million) in legal and illegal funding for political parties as head of Transpetro SA, the company's ship leasing and gas transport unit, between 2003 and 2015.

The older Machado avoided jail after signing a plea deal in the so-called "Operation Car Wash" probe, which is investigating political kickbacks, money-laundering and graft at state firms that began in 2003.

The banker and his two brothers also cut similar plea deals, helping shed light on how their father funneled payments to ruling coalition parties and senior politicians.

In excerpts of a plea deal made public by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Firmeza Machado admitted opening an account at HSBC Holdings Plc's Swiss unit around 2006 to help his brother Expedito receive "donations" from their father that came from bribes paid by Transpetro contractors.

Firmeza Machado also said his brother sought his advice on how to reinvest money that contractors wired to the account. He acknowledged maintaining occasional contact with members of the companies that paid bribes.

However, Firmeza Machado testified that none of the events under investigation were related to his job at Credit Suisse.

Red flags popped up inside Credit Suisse about a year ago when Firmeza Machado, 38, discussed with senior staff the legal situation of his father, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.   Continuación...