Prominent Geneva politician Pierre Maudet will also temporarily step down as head of the Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Directors, as the fallout from his controversial trip to Abu Dhabi continues.
But he will still be the head of the cantonal body in name, the organisation said in a statementexternal link on Friday. The board had decided to give the duties to Urs Hofmann in the meantime. The Aargau politician is the most senior college in term of time served, it said.
Maudet had been in charge of the justice and police directors’ conference since April 2018.
The announcement follows the Geneva cantonal parliament’s decision to lift his immunity to prosecution on Thursday evening, paving the way for a hearing by the Geneva public prosecutor into his controversial Abu Dhabi trip. Maudet himself has requested this step to clarify his position.
An under pressure Maudet faces an investigation by the public prosecutor for possible “acceptance of a benefit”external link linked to the trip he made with his family to Abu Dhabi in November 2015.
The public prosecutor claims Maudet accepted flights and accommodation for himself, his family, and his chief of staff amounting to several tens of thousands of Swiss francs. It said the costs were paid for by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed bin Al-Nahyan, who had invited him to watch a Formula 1 race. It added that there were several members of the Geneva property sector involved in the organisation of the trip, without giving further information.
Maudet initially said that his Abu Dhabi stay was a private trip, paid for by a friend. But the head of Geneva’s cantonal government later acknowledged “having hidden part of the truth”.
A report by Swiss public broadcaster SRF earlier this month revealed documents showing that Lebanese businessmen linked to Maudet are involved in a construction project near the city’s airport. The Geneva minister has denied any conflict of interests.
Maudet, once a candidate for the Swiss government, has already vacated his cantonal president’s role, also as a temporary measure. He is also no longer in charge of the police and the airport in the canton.