Swiss Government Requests Information on Rio de Janeiro Fiscal Agents

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Tuesday, July 1, 2003
Jorge Nemr
The Swiss Public Prosecution has sent a rotatory letter to Brazil requesting information on the investigations being carried out by Brazilian authorities against the former sub-secretary of the Tax Administration of Rio de Janeiro, Rodrigo Silveirinha and other seven fiscal agents. They are being investigated in Switzerland for money laundering, due to the opening of back accounts in that country with funds which apparently have criminal origin. The document forwarded by the Swiss authorities mentions that the first accounts were opened in May 1999, with Discount Bank and Trust Company, which is currently denominated Union Bacaire Privee. Another extremely important aspect of the matter is that the Public Prosecution of Switzerland, by intending to have access to the bank relations of the accused persons, is requesting in fact breakage of the bank secrecy of such persons in Brazil. The request violates Brazilian public order and national sovereignty, disregarding the fundamental principles and basic grantees of right to privacy, to intimacy and to secrecy, assured by our Constitution. It is worth reminding, in addition, that in Brazilian law the breakage of bank secrecy of an individual may only be made by means of a judicial order and never through a simple request of a member of the Public Prosecution.