Peter Weinzierl, the former CEO of Meinl Bank in the US charged with bribery and money laundering in connection with Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, asked a London court on Wednesday to refuse his extradition.
Wenzrell is accused of helping to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in a conspiracy to pay bribes to public officials around the world. In their closing arguments at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, his lawyers said US prosecutors had “intentionally misrepresented” Dor Weinzerl in order to secure his extradition from Britain.
Was he lured to the UK?
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which is seeking extradition on behalf of the United States, said in the court filing that Weinzerl was seeking to challenge the merits of the charges. James Lewis, who is representing Weinzierl, argued that his client’s extradition should not be approved because Weinzierl was “lured” to the UK by an alleged US law enforcement officer in May 2021 for his arrest.
However, Rosemary Davidson, representing the CPS, said in her written statement that there were “no reasonable grounds” to believe that Weinzrell had been lured to Britain for his arrest. But even if that is the case, that is not a reason not to hand it over.
Once upon a time there was a company called Odebrecht
Odebrecht admitted to paying bribes to governments across Latin America to build a massive construction empire. In 2016, Odebrecht and its parent company Braskem, Brazil’s largest petrochemical company, agreed to pay at least $3.5 billion to settle allegations of bribery brought by US, Brazilian and Swiss regulators. The public works bribery scandal has also spread to other countries in which Odebrecht’s company operates, including Peru, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia.
Odebrecht changed its name to Novonor SA in December 2020 after the name became synonymous with bribery due to widespread corruption investigations in Brazil.
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