Report flags more sponsors of official Swiss events

Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, pictured here at the opening of the Swiss embassy in Moscow, is considering a request by health groups to exclude a tobacco multinational from sponsoring the Swiss pavilion at next year’s World Expo in the United Arab Emirates. KEYSTONE/EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

Following controversy surrounding a tobacco firm’s sponsorship of Swiss activities abroad, a report in the SonntagsBlick newspaper points out that other government ministries have accepted corporate aid as well.

Keystone-SDA/sm

For example, the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport confirmed to the newspaper that it had received money from companies such as RUAG, Pilatus and Swisscom at three aviation events. Earlier this month, Defence Minister Viola Amherd ordered an internal audit of her department.

According to SonntagsBlick, a preliminary report noted that private funding for public administration had become more important in recent years due to ever scarcer budgetary resources. The full audit report is expected at the end of October.

As defence department head of communications Renato Kalbermatten told Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA on Sunday, there is no connection between his ministry's internal investigation and the funding that Philip Morris International provided to the foreign ministry. However, the defence ministry directives on sponsoring and advertising have expired and are now being revised.

SonntagsBlick also pointed out that in 2012 and 2013, Japan Tobacco International had sponsored the Swiss Film Prize with CHF54,000 (ca. $56,000 in those years). However, this deal with the Federal Department of Home Affairs was not renewed after department head Alain Berset took office.


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