Former EU commissioner settles civil dispute out of court
The former European Union commissioner, Martin Bangemann, has reached a settlement with a Bernese public relations firm that sued him for breach of contract.
Both parties have agreed not to reveal the nature of the settlement, approved by a court in Interlaken. Speaking after the agreement was reached on Wednesday, court president Thomas Zbinden, said the case would have raised "very interesting legal issues".
Bangemann was sued by the Bischof PR agency for not turning up at a symposium at which he had agreed to speak.
The agency demanded that he compensate the organisers, who were forced to cancel the event. The sum in question was precisely SFr242,133.15 ($139,157), the exact amount lost by the various organisers.
Bangemann reneged on the agreement a month before the event for what he said were "political reasons". The Geneva office of the EU had advised him against participating in the symposium, which was expected to be critical of the Union.
He said the EU advised him to pull out to avoid a debate with Swiss populist politician, Christoph Blocher. However, during the court case, it was suggested that Bangemann's decision might have been influenced by questions over the speaking fees he was receiving at the time.
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