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Bank secrecy breach Prosecutors drop Blocher probe in Hildebrand affair

Blocher was a vocal critic of SNB forex policy during Hildebrand's time as president.

(Keystone)

An investigation into ex-government minister Christoph Blocher, who was suspected of handling the stolen bank data of Switzerland’s former top central banker, has been dropped due to lack of evidence. 

Zurich prosecutors said on Thursday that they had ended the criminal probe having examined Blocher’s computer files, seized during 2012 raids on the billionaire’s home and offices. 

Blocher was accused of playing a role in a convoluted case that resulted in the resignation of Swiss National Bank (SNB) President Philipp Hildebrand in January 2012. His position became untenable after the publication of bank records that showed foreign currency trades being made from his personal account just before the SNB intervened in the forex markets. 

Hildebrand blamed the transactions on his wife, but this was not enough to keep the embattled central banker in his job. 

The stolen bank data, which was published in the Weltwoche magazine in 2011, was traced back to a bank IT worker and a lawyer with links to Blocher. 

Blocher, who had been an ardent critic of Hildebrand, was suspected of having passed the stolen bank data to the Weltwoche. Following the seizure of his computer, Blocher won a 2014 court order that ruled that emails between him and a Weltwoche journalist were inadmissible as evidence. 

The former Justice Minister has always denied wrongdoing, saying that his only involvement was to alert then-Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey to the issue. 

But criminal proceedings linked to the Hildebrand affair have not yet ended. The bank worker and lawyer must answer charges of breaching Swiss banking secrecy at a Zurich court in a case scheduled for the end of March 2016.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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