The former chairman of the management board of Baoshida Swissmetal has been given a 24-month suspended prison sentence for unlawful business practices. He must pay back almost CHF20.5 million ($20.5 million) to the company.
In addition, the man, who is Chinese, has been banned from Switzerland for five years, said Maurice Paronitti, judge at the Biel-based Commercial Court of Berner Jura-Seeland, on Friday, confirming a report in the Journal du Juraexternal link newspaper.
The case concerns the finances of the near-bankrupt Swissmetal,external link a copper alloy manufacturer. The man was found guilty of unlawful business practices concerning some CHF17 million ($16.9 million). The court recognised that the irregularities were not for personal gain.
His actions were said to have put the future of the firm, which has 160 employees in Renvolier and Dornach, in jeopardy. Baoshida Swissmetal (Chinese firm Baoshida took over in 2013) is under a debt-restructuring moratorium until July 22.
A Swiss industrialist wants to buy the troubled company for CHF9 million, but the deal was blocked by the main creditor, China Development Bank (CDB). The man who was sentenced had taken a €15 million loan with the bank, which now wants the funds back.