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Ambassador regrets recall

Borer insists he has done nothing wrong

(Keystone Archive)

Switzerland's ambassador to Berlin, Thomas Borer, says he regrets the decision to recall him following a scandal over an alleged extra-marital affair.

In an interview with Le Matin newspaper on Thursday, Borer said he would "obey" the authorities but insisted he had done a good job as ambassador.

"I have always defended Switzerland's interests abroad to the best of my ability, and I love my position in Berlin, to which I am devoted," he told the paper. "I've always taken care to promote a good image of the country."

The cabinet decision is effective at the end of April. Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss said on Wednesday that Borer was no longer able to carry out his mission in a "credible manner".

Allegations of an affair with a beautician surfaced in the SonntagsBlick newspaper 11 days ago and further revelations have been published by its sister paper, the Blick, ever since.

Deiss said the decision to recall the ambassador was made independently of whether or not an affair actually took place.

Borer dismissed claims

Borer and his Texan wife, Shawne Fielding, have repeatedly sought to rebut the SonntagsBlick claims, dismissing the allegations. They accuse the Ringier publishing group, which owns the SonntagsBlick and the Blick, of embarking on a slanderous campaign to discredit the couple.

Borer told Le Matin that he could have simply resigned or even been transferred to another post. "I didn't do this because I refuse to allow myself to be dictated to by the Ringier group," he said.

The SonntagsBlick and the Blick said a department store beautician visited Borer's apartment on the night of March 21. The papers published photographs of a parked vehicle outside the embassy allegedly belonging to the woman.

Photographs showed her getting into a Mercedes belonging to Fielding, which then drove into the embassy garage. The pictures were allegedly taken by security cameras located outside the German Chancellery, next to the Swiss embassy.

In the mid 1990s, Borer headed Task Force Switzerland-Second World War, which served as the official response and coordinating centre in connection with a probe into Switzerland's role during the war.

In this role, Borer negotiated with the United States, the World Jewish Congress and Israel to resolve the controversy over dormant Holocaust-era accounts held in Switzerland.

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