A complex scheme of international fraud behind the bankruptcy of two banks

If a large network of fraud and money laundering is not exposed by some courageous journalist or whistleblower with a substantial media attention, like for example the 1MDB case (1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal), the justice apparatus in Europe seems powerless to take any action. This is the case of one of the most symptomatic criminal event happened in the financial place in Switzerland: the case of the Hottinger & Partners SA in Geneva. A case that devastated the trust into the private banking systems of the Confederation and leads to the bankruptcy of two banks.

Hottinger & Partners SA was the asset management company related to the Hottinger & Co. Bank. The company Hottinger & Partners SA was sharing offices and infrastructures of the Bank giving the impression it was part of it. Hottinger & Partners SA allegedly created a crime-friendly environment and managed to extract assets from their clients.

Hottinger & Co. Bank went bankrupt in 2015, probably due to the fraud perpetrated by members of the Hottinger & Partners SA. The fraud was systematically perpetrated between 2009 and 2012, including the forging of client signatures and bank statements issued by Hottinger & Partners SA depredating clients of the Hottinger & Co. Bank for an amount of more than 50 Mio EUR. The central figure of the fraud case is the asset manager Fabien Gaglio who was convicted for a closely related case in Luxembourg and also confessed his wrongdoing to the Swiss and French authorities. At moment he apparently lives in a sumptuous villa near Cannes surrounded by his caring friends. In spite of the fact that the Hottinger & Partners SA fraud seems to be a Ponzi scheme - at least according to the confessions of Gaglio - it looks like that the fraud perpetrated by the protagonists (Gaglio and accomplices) has to be considered in a milieu of international money laundering, starting with the activities in 2003, before Hottinger & Partners SA was created.

From 2003, Fabien Gaglio & Co allegedly planned and operated money laundering layering structure of off-shore companies with the help of accomplices, with bank accounts mostly in Switzerland, UK and Hong Kong. This money laundering mechanism was partially related to a network of famous international money launderers serving also organized crime, corruption, fraud and tax evasion, in particular in East Europe and Italy. From 2003 and 2009 the money laundering schema laundered about 500 Mio EUR around the world.

Geographically, the network of off-shore companies operated on the California-Italy-Russia-Hong Kong and France axis, mostly involving the film and sport industry, the art industry and the pyramidal marketing industry.

In Russia, for example, the structures are related to the Azimut Bank in Moscow which lost its bank license in 2015 due to severe irregularities and money laundering and subsequently terminated its activities because of bankruptcy. By coincidence, of course, the bankruptcy of the Azimut bank happened at the same of bankruptcy's day of the Hottinger & Co. Bank.

In Italy, as second example, many structures were related to a trustee based in Lugano, Filippo Dollfus de Volckersberg, well known by the prosecutor in Milano. Dollfus offered his cleaning services to the Italian nomenclature (in part related to Mediaset). He was convicted in 2016 in Milano for a scheme of money laundering moving about 800 Mio EUR. Additional investigations show other accomplices of the schema residing in Italy, some of them in the film industry....