Ambassador’s wife linked to money laundering case

21.02.2013 - 12:32

The wife of a former Swiss ambassador has been tied to a money laundering case under investigation by Spanish police, allegedly involving a Chinese mafia network and two Geneva banks, Radio Télévision Suisse reported late on Wednesday.

The woman, identified as Madame G, is suspected of handing over envelopes, each containing around €200,000 in cash, to another woman who was arrested in Spain last yearr.

The deliveries occurred at different spots in Geneva, in particular the Mandarin Oriental and Métropole hotels in town, as well as pharmacy on its territory.

The ambassador’s spouse is reportedly active in the diamond business, while her husband, even though retired, is currently on a mission in Africa.

Madame G’s involvement came out after the Spanish police intercepted phone calls made by a member of the money laundering ring to her between December 2011 and March 2012.

When contacted by journalists, the woman admitted to having transmitted the money. However, her lawyer said that she denied knowing she was doing something illegal, while explaining that she naively thought she was providing a service to someone she knew. He also added that her husband, the retired ambassador, was unaware of his wife’s activities.

As to the banks, it has been reported that the Spanish police investigation has already implicated the HSBC bank in Geneva and Lombard Odier, a Geneva private bank.

Media in the country say that the later has issued a statement stating that one of its employees had left the bank following an internal investigation. The investigation concluded that “a certain number of internal regulations” were violated, the private bank said.

On the other hand, it has been reported earlier this week that an employee suspected at HSBC was no longer working there. However, the information was not confirmed by the bank. Instead, it said in a statement that an internal investigation was under way and had not yet been concluded.