rivkin's swiss bank accounts face probe

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    Rivkin's Swiss bank accounts face probe
    08:16 AEST Fri Oct 22 2004

    Government officials in Switzerland have obtained Rene Rivkin's personal Swiss bank account transaction history and will consider releasing details to Australian investigators examining the Offset Alpine company, it was reported.

    The Australian newspaper reported that an official of the Swiss Attorney-General's office, Ivo Hoppler, had also obtained records for Australian businessman Trevor Kennedy.

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is investigating who owned Offset Alpine shares held in secret Swiss bank accounts.

    In January it asked Mr Hoppler to obtain transaction histories for the two men from Swiss banks and financial institutions, the paper said. The last of those documents arrived this week.

    Hoppler is to examine the material and may make a "decree" in about six weeks on what to release to ASIC.

    "These documents will answer a lot of the questions the Australians have," Mr Hoppler told the newspaper.

    The Offset Alpine printing press burned down in 1993, resulting in a $53 million insurance payout on $3 million worth of assets.

    The documents could either confirm or deny allegations that former stockbroker Mr Rivkin, who recently completed a jail term for insider trading, pocketed most of a $26 million share windfall, The Australian said.

    ASIC must satisfy Mr Hoppler that material released is directly relevant to its investigation. He has already declared about half the information obtained as not relevant.

    "I will decide what I think is connected to the case," Mr Hoppler said.

    Lawyers for Mr Rivkin and Mr Kennedy are to meet with Mr Hoppler and will be able to pitch arguments against releasing the records.



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