Ruth Metzler, who was Swiss justice minister from 1999-2003, has stood down with immediate effect from the advisory board of the Swiss-based Quantum Global Group, following revelations in the so-called Paradise Papers, a massive trove of leaked offshore investment documents.
As a reason, she cited on Wednesday the “grave accusations [against the company] of alleged business practices in Angola”.
The Quantum Global Group’s Swiss-Angolan founder and CEO Jean-Claude Bastos appeared repeatedly in the documents, published on Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Bastos, convicted in 2011 by canton Zug of “repeated qualified criminal mismanagement” of companies, was shown by the Paradise Papers to have links to various Swiss business people, including Federal Railways president Monika Ribar and the former CEO of Swiss bank UBS Marcel Rohner.
In addition, through the Quantum Global Group Bastos allegedly ran Angola’s state fund and carried out dubious business activities in the African country, enriching himself in the process. Quantum Global Group denies the charges, saying the media have misinterpreted the facts.
Metzler wrote in a statement to the Swiss News Agency that she had been unaware of the accusations – and could not have been aware of them. “Regardless of whether these accusations are justified and how they should be viewed legally, the business environment as it can now be assessed is no longer compatible with my criteria for a mandate,” she wrote.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/ts