Blocher’s parliamentary immunity under scrutiny

The Zurich justice authorities have formally called on parliament to lift the immunity from prosecution of the strongman of the rightwing Swiss People’s Party.

This content was published on March 27, 2012 and agencies

The request to allow a criminal investigation into Christoph Blocher was handed in on Tuesday, ahead of a first meeting of a special parliamentary panel.

However, no immediate decision on Blocher’s immunity is expected.

The former justice minister is being investigated in a case of alleged breach of banking secrecy, together with three other people.

Blocher argues his immunity is guaranteed as member of parliament and, in turn has accused police of searching his office and his private home without a valid legal warrant.

Blocher is suspected of involvement in the publication of controversial foreign currency transactions by the wife of former central bank chairman, Philipp Hildebrand.

The controversy led to the resignation of Hildebrand in January and prompted a series of political debates as well as a reform of the bank’s internal financial regulations.

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