Documentary - Completed 2016

“Presumed Guilty” is the U.S. produced, award-winning documentary that exposes illegal practices by Swiss banks and their aggressive campaigns that target foreign nationals

    • Year of production
    • 2016
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • USA
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0.6 - 1 M$
    • Duration
    • 87 mn
    • Synopsis
    • Produced by Sugar Studios and directed by Los Angeles-based Jijo Reed, the controversial documentary tells the story of banking corruption in Switzerland and the country’s efforts to prosecute prominent individuals with the goal of winning international credibility.


      The Swiss court proclaimed that several Czech businessmen were responsible for pulling off a fraud on the Czech government. They were accused of pretending to be an American investor with a shell company called Appian Group.

      However, as we discovered, Appian Group was real, and was founded by Stephen Norris, who also is the co-founder of the well-known and respected Carlyle Group. One of Appian’s advisers also happened to be the former U.S. president George H. Bush and his former Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger.

      The shooting for the documentary took place in four countries. In addition to the USA, crews visited Switzerland, Belgium and the Czech Republic and features an interview with the IMF and World Bank’s ex-director Jacques de Groote, one of the people convicted. From Belgium, he is the longtime executive director of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the living legend of the 20th century diplomacy. Mr. de Groote granted us an interview in the Belgian-American Education Foundation headquarters.

      At the Foundation, Mr. de Groote has served as a member of the supervisory board for many years. Today, almost 90, Mr. de Groote shed more light on the genesis of the case.
      As a professor emeritus in economics, he did not miss an opportunity to highlight the delicasy of the economic transition in the post-communist countries such as the Czech Republic.

      For the documentary, we also headed to the former Czechoslovakia. We interviewed the leading energy trader in the Central Europe and dug up new information never before made public. The businessmen convicted were so successful, together they made the small Czech Republic the biggest world per capita power exporter between 2001 and 2008.

      It was eye-opening to interview a former Czech supreme prosecutor and to hear him openly admit that the Czech authorities investigated the case for a number of years, from all the angles, only to find out that no crimes were committed.

      Yes Swiss investigators came to a totally different conclusion.

      Did Swiss investigators not bother to deal with, or simply miss, crucial facts?

      “Presumed Guilty” is an eye-opening documentary that gets to the truth of this extraordinary story.
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