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Private bank said involved in Petrobras scandal changes leadership
07/12/2017 , John Evans, International Editor

A private bank founded by Brazil’s wealthy Esteve family has reshuffled top roles at the Geneva-based company.

But Banque Heritage stresses that the changes are not linked to any involvement in the scandal at Brazilian state oil company Petrobras, an affair said to have snared several Swiss private banks.

Banque Heritage founder Carlos Esteve is giving up the chief executive role, and instead will join its board to concentrate on governance and strategic growth.

His replacement is brother Marcos Esteve, who has a mandate to look for growth via acquisitions or by organic expansion.  He was previously chief operating officer and then head of private banking.

Another executive François Oesch will take on the private banking role, after previously being chief investment officer.

The bank originated as a family office for the Esteves, which have extensive coffee, cocoa and cotton interests. It secured a banking license in 2004. It manages more than CHF5 billion.

Heritage executives say that the succession plan was planned more than a year ago, and is not connected with investigations into the Petrobras corruption scandal.  None of the family has been accused of any wrong-doing.  A Swiss Federal court decision into financial institutions which failed to alert authorities about dubious Petrobras dealings is still pending.

Separately, Swiss authorities are reviewing information submitted by Geneva and Zurich banks about potentially suspicious transactions linked to accounts held by Saudi Arabian people but regulators have not so far frozen funds or launched criminal investigations.

A number of Swiss banks are understood to have begun reporting suspicious account activity among some Saudi clients amid a corruption crackdown in Riyadh, which has resulted in the confinement of 19 high-profile business figures in the kingdom.

Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman's anti-corruption campaign is aimed in part at billions of dollars in assets suspected to have been illicitly shipped to Switzerland and other jurisdictions in recent years.


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