Ex-Roche employee sentenced in multi-million fraud case

The new Roche headquarters in Basel opened in 2015. © Keystone/Gaetan Bally

A Swiss fraudster and his French accomplice, who together cheated Swiss pharma giant Roche out of €8.35 million (CHF11.7 million), have been sentenced to prison.

This content was published on August 9, 2021 - 17:46

The Basel City criminal court on Monday handed down prison terms of 39 months and 51 months respectively.

Both defendants pleaded guilty to charges of commercial fraud, document forgery, and commercial money laundering, according to court documents.

They used forged invoices taking advantage of a loophole in Roche’ account system to siphon off the money between January and August 2017. The fraudulently obtained money was being transferred into a bank account in Singapore and from there to several bank accounts around the world.

Despite a sentence of 39 months, the Swiss national already walked free in February 2020, having served enough time in pre-trial detention.

The French national, who had been in custody waiting for extradition in Spain since March 2019, and in custody in Basel since April 2020, will still have to spend time in Swiss prisons to finish serving his 51-month sentence. He was additionally given a ten-year ban from Switzerland.

Both fraudsters are also expected to pay the equivalent of $11.6 million, plus 5% interest, back to Roche.

However, both the French accomplice and the public prosecutor declared that they did not see how the fraudsters would be able to pay the required money back in the short to mid-term.

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