Brazilian banker Joseph Safra charged in bribery scheme

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SAO PAULO (AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged the world's richest banker, Brazil's Joseph Safra, for allegedly agreeing to pay more than $4 million in bribes to tax auditors to reduce or annul fines on unpaid taxes.

Brazil's Federal Prosecutor's Office said Thursday in a statement that Safra knew of a 2014 plan by executives at Bank Safra to pay 15.3 million reals ($4.25 million) in bribes. Also charged was former bank executive Joao Inacio Puga who allegedly negotiated the bribe-payment scheme.

Prosecutors said Safra was not directly involved in the bribery negotiations, but taped conversations showed that Puga reported to Safra on the bribery talks.

Safra's fortune is estimated at about $18 billion by Forbes Magazine.