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Swiss attorney general gets increasing international requests

Michael Lauber, the current Swiss attorney general. © Keystone / Peter Schneider

While the total number of cases opened by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) dropped in 2018, requests for international legal assistance continued to rise.

This content was published on April 29, 2019 - 21:30
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The globalisation of the OAG’s work was clear from figures published on Monday: in 2018, 223 mutual legal assistance cases were handled, compared with 187 the year before, while 233 new requests were received, up from 167.

The trend means constant communication and cooperation at the international level, the OAG wrote on Monday in its annual reportExternal link. It also means that more and more cases are conducted across borders, for example using video technology.

The complexity of some of these international cases also means that they can only be tackled by large, interdisciplinary teams, the report stated.

In total, the OAG was involved in 407 open criminal proceedings in 2018, 71 less than the previous year. The office also said that it managed to reduce the number of cases open for longer than two years, while fewer new cases were also begun.

The most mediatised were the enquiries into the Petrobras-Odebracht affair, the 1MDB scandal, and ongoing FIFA investigations.

One significant drop, in the number of penal rulings (from 788 to 170) was explained by a change in procedures that gave cantonal authorities the task of prosecuting crimes relating to motorway stickers from January 2018.

Last week, a separate report by the supervisory authority that oversees the work of the OAG said that it was investigating a reported undocumented meeting between attorney general Michael Lauber and FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Monday’s annual report did not elaborate on the nature of this meeting.

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