Federal police to run Novartis attacks probe

Federal authorities are to coordinate an investigation into animal rights militants following a series of attacks against Novartis chief executive Daniel Vasella.

This content was published on September 17, 2009 - 11:36

The British-based group Militant Forces against Huntingdon Life Science has claimed responsibility for a fire at the pharmaceutical boss's Austrian holiday home in August. In July the Vasella family grave was also desecrated and crosses bearing Vasella's name and that of his wife were placed in a Chur cemetery.

The Federal Police Office will liaise with local and international authorities but criminal investigations into the attacks will continue to be carried out by the cantons, the Federal Prosecutor's Office said on Thursday.

"Over the past few weeks, prominent representatives of the Swiss pharmaceutical industry have increasingly been the target of criminal offences, which were probably carried out by militant animal rights activists," said a statement.

Novartis says it has not done business with Huntingdon Life Sciences, an animal testing company, for some time now.

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