(Adds company lawyer, details)
GENEVA, March 24 (Reuters) - The chief executive officer and legal director of Addax Petroleum in Geneva have both been arrested and charged with suspected bribery of foreign officials, the spokesman for the canton’s prosecutor said on Friday.
A criminal procedure has also been opened against the company - bought by China’s state-owned Sinopec, Asia’s largest oil refiner in 2009 - prosecutor’s spokesman Henri della Casa said.
“I can confirm that the Geneva prosecutor has opened a criminal investigation into bribery of foreign officials and that the company Addax and its director-general and legal director are the subject of it,” della Casa said.
Le Temps quoted Saverio Lembo, a Geneva lawyer for Addax CEO Zhang Yi, as saying: “My client vigorously contests the charges against him. He plans to defend himself. For the rest, we will not comment on the procedure under way.”
There was no response from the company’s press office to an emailed inquiry and phone calls.
A lawyer for Addax confirmed to Reuters reports in the Swiss daily Le Temps that the investigation was linked to activity in Nigeria, but would not comment further. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and; Michael Shields in Zurich; Editing by Alison Williams)