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Subsidies scandal Swiss PostBus company claimed millions in illegal subsidies

A PostBus drives through the snow

A PostBus battling the conditions in central Switzerland

(Keystone)

The Swiss Federal Office of Transport reports that the Swiss PostBus company has claimed almost CHF80 million ($85 million) in excessive federal and cantonal subsidies over the past decade by manipulating accounts. Two PostBus company heads are leaving their positions as a result, and the company will have to refund the money. 

A regular audit by the Transport Office revealed that between the years 2007 and 2015, the company known for its bright yellow buses that carry passengers throughout the Alps deliberately kept its profits low in order to receive more support money from the government.

The CEO of the post company, Susanne Ruoff, promised on Wednesday that the matter will be fully investigated. The PostBus director and the chief finance officer were dismissed without notice.

“The accusations weigh heavily," said Ruoff before the media. "I regret that these longstanding, illegal payments took place.” She assured representatives of Swiss federal and cantonal governments that the unlawful compensation funds would be paid back to them.

Hans-Peter Wessels, the president of Swiss public transport directors, called it “highly disconcerting that such irregularities, some of them going back ten years, are only being discovered now,” saying the issue reflects badly on the oversight system currently in place. 

The exact motives behind the systematic accounting tricks remain unclear. Several politicians expressed outrage and demanded a thorough investigation. 

The Federal Office of Transport announced that it will file a formal complaint over the matter with the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland. 

SRF/ln

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