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Counterfeit watchmakers sent to jail

Watch-movement maker Jean-Pierre Jaquet will spend four and a half years in prison for his role in a counterfeiting scheme that rocked the Swiss timepiece industry.

A court in the western city of Neuchâtel announced on Monday that Jaquet and two others were guilty of aggravated robbery, handling of stolen goods and forgery as part of a fake watch scheme.

Fifteen people in total were implicated in the “Ulysses Affair” which began in 2003 when police raided Jaquet’s firm in La Chaux-de-Fonds looking for evidence of a plot that also involved gold heists and stolen Rolex casings. Two people were acquitted.

The court also ordered Jaquet to pay SFr750,000 ($643,940) in restitution. Others involved in the crime received prison terms ranging from three to nine and a half years. Some will pay fines instead.

When news of the scandal broke five years ago watchmakers in Switzerland were outraged.

Nicolas Hayek, president of the world’s leading watchmaker, Swatch Group, remarked at the time: “It’s like a bunch of cardinals getting together and robbing the Vatican bank.”

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR