Swiss financier gets 5-1/2yrs in prison for fraud

Flags of the city of Basel (L) and Switzerland © Arnd Wiegmann
Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court has sentenced a former Swiss fund manager Dieter Behring to five-and-a-half years in jail for fraud and money laundering.

The 61-year-old was accused of cheating 2,000 investors between September 1998 and October 2004 by promising them rich returns if they used his self-developed financial software. The financier and several partners ran the trading system from Basel, Switzerland.

Behring said the software was designed to analyze stock market activity and produce "above-average results" for investors. The fund collapsed in 2004 with losses of 800 million Swiss francs ($827 million).

The court has ordered frozen funds to be forfeited and Behring has to pay 100 million francs ($102 million) in damages.

"We regret the large losses of those damaged... but we also have lost everything that we had built up in the previous decades," Behring said as cited by Reuters.

He added that other people took the money after being consumed by what he called a "growing and insatiable greed.”

READ MORE: Ex-banker gets 4.5yrs in prison for insider trading

Behring was arrested in October 2004, released in April 2005, and re-arrested in March 2007. He was later released on $1 million bail and had to surrender his passport. The financier has denied any wrongdoing throughout the proceedings.

The Federal Criminal Court’s ruling is not final as Behring may file an appeal.