US authorities have charged Austrian citizens Peter Weinzierl and Alexander Waldstein for their part in a scheme to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through the US. The authorities have arrested Weinzierl, while Waldstein is still at large.
Weinzierl was the chief executive officer and Waldstein an officer of an Austrian bank, and both were board members of an Antiguan bank. During 2006-16, Weinzierl and Waldstein conspired with the Brazil-based global construction conglomerate Odebrecht S.A., among others, to launder money in a scheme to defraud the Brazilian government of over $100 million in taxes. They further created off-books slush funds to help Odebrecht pay hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to public officials globally.
Through the Austrian bank, the accused allegedly used fraudulently transferred over $170 million from Odebrecht’s US-based bank accounts to offshore shell company bank accounts that Odebrecht operated secretly. Odebrecht fraudulently recorded and reported the hundreds of millions of dollars in international wire transfers as legitimate business expenses in Brazil, thus evading tax payments of over $100 million. Meanwhile, Weinzierl and Waldstein substantial fees for their roles in the scheme.
Source: US Department of Justice