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Former Swissair Group heads called to pay damages

The Swissair Group's former heads are being asked for SFr500 million


The lawyer who is defending the interests of small investors of the Swissair Group, Hans-Jacob Heitz, is demanding SFr500 million ($292.4 million) in damages from the former management of the group. He is threatening legal action if they refuse.

Heitz on Friday confirmed a report that he was calling on the former chief executive officer, Philippe Bruggisser, and several directors of the board to pay compensation for being responsible for the group's current financial problems.

The Swissair Group in April reported losses last year of SFr2.9 billion.

Among the directors being called to task are former chairman Eric Honegger, Thomas Schmidheiny, Vreni Spoerri, Andres Leuenberger, Bénédict Hentsch and Lukas Mühlemann.

"It is in the interests of Swissair and the shareholders that those responsible for the group's debacle put 500 million francs on the table," Heitz told the weekly "Cash" financial newspaper.

The amount being demanded corresponds to the sum that the Swissair group chief executive officer and chairman, Mario Corti, wants to save in cost-cutting measures in the second half of this year under a programme called "Change 2001".

Heitz's proposal is to be put to a Swissair group extraordinary general assembly on November 9.

A special independent investigation is currently looking at the group's finances.

swissinfo with agencies

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