July 4, 2019 / 2:48 PM / 3 months ago

Asset manager Quantum says Swiss prosecutors close Angola-related case

ZURICH, July 4 (Reuters) - Asset manager Quantum Global Group said federal prosecutors in Switzerland had dropped an investigation into events surrounding the Swiss company and its founder, who have been in the spotlight over ties to Angola’s sovereign wealth fund.

Quantum said on Thursday that Swiss prosecutors’ decision to drop the case followed the release of its founder Jean-Claude Bastos from custody in Angola at the end of March after Angolan authorities dropped all charges against him.

It did not say what the charges were.

“The Swiss Attorney General’s office has closed all investigations into the events surrounding Jean-Claude Bastos and the Quantum Global Group as of 27 June 2019,” Quantum said in a statement.

Quantum previously managed assets for Angola’s wealth fund but the two have been involved in a legal dispute since last year.

In April last year, the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) opened an investigation against people linked to possible money laundering involving assets of the wealth fund, Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA), and the Angolan National Bank. The OAG has not named the people it investigated.

“At the beginning of March 2019, the Angolan Public Prosecutor’s Office notified the OAG in writing that, under an agreement reached in Angola, all charges against a person accused there had been dropped,” the OAG said by email when asked about Quantum’s statement.

The OAG said it had therefore decided that as there was no proof of a crime preceding the suspected laundering, it was no longer able to link any money transfers or bank accounts in Switzerland to a proven predicate offence.

“As a result, the assets that the OAG had seized in connection with this investigation have been released and the criminal proceedings were abandoned at the end of June 2019,” the Swiss prosecutors said.

The wealth fund launched legal action to sever ties with Quantum Global following a change of government in Angola in 2017. Quantum, which has denied any wrongdoing, has challenged subsequent court injunctions in the case.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Susan Fenton

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