A former Swiss parliamentarian has been stripped of his immunity, paving the way for a legal investigation into corruption allegations over lobbying efforts by Kazakhstan.
It is a first in the parliamentary history of modern-day Switzerland.
A committee of the House of Representatives on Wednesday followed the Senate committee, lifting the immunity from prosecution of Christian Miesch, who sat in parliamentexternal link for the rightwing Swiss People’s Party until 2015.
He is suspected of accepting money – CHF4,635 ($4,760) - from a lobbyist in return for trying to serve the interests of Kazakhstan in parliament.
Initially, the committee had refused to move on Miesch, arguing his involvement was not significant enough to justify lifting his immunity.
Miesch has denied any wrongdoing.
Two other parliamentarians suspected of passing on confidential documents to a Kazakh lobbyist and accepting a paid trip were also involved in the case but did not have their immunity lifted.
As for the lobbyist, Thomas Borer, a former Swiss ambassador, he also faces a criminal investigation.
The Swiss chapter of the non-governmental Transparency Internationalexternal link group welcomed Wednesday’s decision by parliament. It said the allegations are serious and deserve a thorough examination.
swissinfo.ch with SDA-ATS; urs