Amid controversy over a government sponsorship deal with tobacco, Swiss public television, RSI has revealed that the American arms company Raytheon sponsored a reception at the Swiss Embassy in Washington in 2018.
The informationexternal link was reported on Wednesday evening and confirmed by Keystone-SDA. The embassy indicated that the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs was not aware of the funding.
The arms manufacturer paid $5,000 (CHF5,000) for the “Soirée Suisse” in 2018 - an event organized every year by the Swiss embassy in Washington with around 1,500 guests. The embassy refused additional funding from Raytheon for 2019 following an internal review.
Raytheon is a leading company in the defense sector, producing the Tomahawk and Patriot missiles, and is participating in the tender for Switzerland's new ground-to-air defense system. The company has also been at the centre of controversy, facing accusations of supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen.
These revelations come a day after the FDFA announced that it was abandoning its partnership with the Philip Morris group for the 2020 exhibition at the World Expo in Dubai. The agreement with the largest tobacco manufacturer, based in Switzerland, drew strong criticism from health organisations.
The tobacco company reportedly also contributed CHF45,000 towards the opening ceremony of the new Swiss embassy to Moscow last month.
Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis has ordered revisions to the ministry’s sponsorship policy by the end of the year to prevent similar situations from re-occurring.