Switzerland Arrests Brazilian Suspect of Draining U.S. $242 Million from Banco Noroeste

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Thursday, May 1, 2003
Jorge Nemr
The draining of approximately U.S. $242 million from the Brazilian Bank Noroeste was discovered in 1998 after its sale to the Spanish group Santander. According to the current controlling group, the branch of the bank in Cayman held investments in U.S. banks such as JP Morgan, Bank of New York and Manufacturers Hanover, arising from foreign raisings which should have been transferred to the clients gut were deviated. The charges are against the former international officer of the Bank, Nelson Sakaguchi, who is now imprisoned in Switzerland. The former controlling persons of Noroeste, composed of the Cochrane and Simonsen families, charge Mr. Sakaguchi of having drained the funds to hundreds of persons and companies in places such as the United States, Nigeria, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Singapore, Hong Kong and Arabian Emirates. Because of such draining, the families of the former controlling persons received only US $258 million out of a total of US $500 million which Santander committed to pay for the takeover of the bank. In addition to the former international office, two other persons living in Nigeria, who received US $120 million out of the total transferred from the Cayman branch, are also imprisoned in Switzerland. Both were arrested in Miami by virtue of an imprisonment order issued by the courts of Switzerland, where a great party of the deviated money transited, and were extradited to that country.