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Bertossa to bow out of legal limelight

Bertossa says he is keen to continue with his pursuit against criminal injustice Keystone Archive

The Geneva-based public prosecutor, Bernard Bertossa, is to retire from his post when his mandate expires in six months' time. Bertossa is best known for his pursuit of such high-profile figures as the former Kremlin aide, Pavel Borodin, who has been facing charges of money laundering in Switzerland.

This content was published on October 14, 2001 - 16:04

Bertossa was elected to the post of canton Geneva's chief prosecutor eleven and a half years ago and since that time has become one of the most well-known figures of the legal profession in Switzerland.

The 59-year-old prosecutor said he would like to continue a career of combating crime after he leaves office but would not make any immediate decision about his future direction.

"There are new positions which are going to appear at a federal level," Bertossa said in an interview with the Swiss newspaper, "Le Matin", "but there are also a number of international organisations."

"I would be very pleased to work at a more elevated level than just my canton or my country," he added.

Following in footsteps

There has been speculation that Bertossa would consider following in the footsteps of Switzerland's Carla del Ponte, who worked as the country's Attorney General before embarking on a legal career in the international arena.

Del Ponte is currently serving as Chief Prosecutor at the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.

Bertossa said he would not be drawn into speculation about specific posts, since he had not yet received any offers.

"It is not my style to solicit something," he said.

Bertossa was most recently in the headlines when he spoke out about attempts by the United States to identify assets belonging to terrorists.

In a recent interview with swissinfo, the prosecutor said the authorities would be hard pressed to track funds belonging to the Saudi dissident, Osama bin Laden, who is the chief suspect behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

"It's almost impossible to follow the money trail," Bertossa said. "There is obviously an organisation that finances these criminals, but there aren't any accounts with Bin Laden's name on them."

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