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Accounts frozen in Swissair probe

The Swiss justice authorities have blocked the private bank accounts of four former Swissair bosses.

This content was published on March 17, 2003 - 19:37

The move is part of an ongoing investigation into the fall of the former national airline.

Zurich's justice department said on Monday that the accounts of Eric Honegger, Philippe Bruggisser and Mario Corti had been blocked, as well as that of former finance head, Georges Schoderet.

Hanspeter Hirt, the district prosecutor in charge of the case, said he wanted to use the assets, amounting to several hundred thousand francs, to help cover the legal costs of the case against Swissair's parent company.

It was reported over the weekend that an agreement had been made with Corti, who had transferred SFr150,000 ($108,500) into a blocked account.

Huge sums

Hirt said the authorities would decide whether to take the money once legal proceedings had been completed.

"Appeals have been placed and negotiations are in progress," he added.

The Zurich authorities are investigating five people: Corti, Honegger, Bruggisser and Schoderet, as well as an employee of an auditing company, for suspected mismanagement and falsification of documents.

In January, an Ernst & Young report blamed management incompetence and lack of aviation experience for the collapse of the airline.

It said that the grounding of the Swissair fleet on October 2, 2001, could have been avoided had the management kept a proper grip on the carrier's finances.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Swissair planes were grounded on October 2, 2001 after 71 years in business.
On October 3, 2001 the Swiss government granted a bridging loan of SFr450 million.
Some 3,827 jobs were cut following the collapse of the national airline.
The first official flight by the new national airline "swiss" landed in Zurich on March 31, 2002.
The last Swissair plane touched down in Zurich from Buenos Aires on April 1, 2002.

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