December 13, 2016 / 7:24 PM / a year ago

Brazil court drops tax case against billionaire financier Safra

SAO PAULO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - A Brazilian federal court dropped prosecution against Joseph Safra, the world’s richest banker, in connection with an alleged scheme to pay bribes to government officials in return for waiving tax debts.

The media office of the Brasilia-based Regional Federal Tribunal for the 1st Region confirmed the ruling, in a 2-to-1 decision. In a statement, the Safra Group said the court’s ruling prevents “the continuation of the action for lack of just cause and the proceeding ... is now closed.”

In March, prosecutors asked Safra be charged on claims he had knowledge of a 2014 plan by executives at an asset management unit of his Banco Safra SA to pay 15.3 million reais ($4.6 million) in bribes to federal tax auditors. Safra repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

$1 = 3.3252 reais Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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