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Economics experts take center stage at Rey trial

Economic and financial experts were taking centre stage Monday as the fraud and forgery trial of bankrupt Swiss financier Werner K. Rey entered its third week.

This content was published on June 14, 1999 - 11:21

Economic and financial experts were taking centre stage Monday as the trial of bankrupt Swiss financier Werner K. Rey entered its third week.

Rey is accused of fraud and forgery in connection with the collapse of his multi-million Swiss franc business empire several years ago.

Prosecutors were hoping to use expert testimony to prove that Rey deliberately falsified business and performance records of his Inspectorate group in 1985. Those business reports were crucial for Rey at the time since they paved the way for Inspectorate going public.

Rey’s business empire collapsed spectacularly in the 1980s. The trial covers a selection of offences involving SFr 277 million ($185 million).

The first two weeks of the trial saw a series of witnesses and former business associates testify about Rey’s business dealings.

The defence is trying to prove that Rey never deliberately falsified any business documents or performance and earnings records in order to win bank loans, which eventually he was unable to pay back. The banks should simply have been more careful and diligent before agreeing to the loans, the defence team argues.

Rey moved to the Bahamas in 1992, from where he was extradited to Switzerland last year. He had fought against extradition all the way to the Privy Council in London.

Rey has denied the fraud accusations and maintains he is innocent. However, he could face 15 years in prison should he be found guilty in the trial, which is expected to hear a verdict on July 2.

The case has attracted widespread interest in Switzerland – not only because of the huge amounts in question but also because the trial could reveal embarrassing details about the business practices of dozens of banks that granted the loans.

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