(PresidentialHill.com)- An Austrian banker who was wanted by the US on suspicion of money laundering said that a longtime CIA agent had “lured” him into taking his private plane to London, where he was detained at the airport.
Former Austrian private bank CEO Peter Weinzierl is battling extradition to the US. The bank was formerly known as Meinl Bank AG. In a London court on Monday, his attorney claimed that the US authorities had abused the arrest process.
According to a legal brief by Weinzierl’s attorney James Lewis, the defendant was duped into believing the intelligence agent was a business associate who wanted to meet for lunch. Weinzierl is charged with participating in a massive Brazilian corruption scandal.
Without this falsehood, Lewis claimed, “He would not be here.” Weinzierl claimed that the agent told a person close to him that they worked for both the CIA and the FBI.
US attorneys declined to confirm or deny whether the person is involved in US law enforcement. They said that Weinzierl, who resided in Moscow, frequently visited the UK.
According to the U.S. accusation, Weinzierl, 56, colluded with the Brazilian company Odebrecht so that it could pay bribes to get business all over the world. Federal prosecutors claim that the banker and another official assisted in the transfer of around $170 million from accounts in New York to offshore shell accounts by using the bank.
The case is expected to cast an unfavorable light on Meinl Bank and Austria’s financial sector, which oversaw substantial transfers between developing nations, particularly the former Soviet Union republics, and western Europe. Numerous bankruptcies and investigations into money laundering at financial institutions have plagued the nation.
At the beginning of the hearing, Rosemary Davidson, a lawyer for the US, stated that Weinzierl was involved “in a huge bribery and corruption tax evasion scheme” at Odebrecht. The tax scam revenues were utilized to bribe officials in numerous jurisdictions.
Weinzierl’s attorneys, however, denied the accusations, claiming that the US charge was only a hoax used by law enforcement to put pressure on Meinl Bank management.
According to David Pack, another Weinzierl attorney, authorities are pressuring Weinzierl to reveal “purported filthy secrets” regarding funds from former Soviet states that were moving via the Austrian banking system.
He claimed that Austrian authorities had already looked into the Odebrecht charges and didn’t think an “adequate evidential case” could be made against Weinzierl.
Davidson insisted that the prosecution has no “collateral aim.”
Weinzierl, a resident of Russia, was first imprisoned for being a flight risk but was later released on bail after a judge ruled that he had to give up his pilot’s license and stay away from the airport.