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French banker found dead in Geneva

Edouard Stern was considered a high-flying financier Keystone

A renowned French banker, Edouard Stern, has been found shot dead in his home in Geneva. Investigators say there is no doubt that it was murder.

This content was published on March 4, 2005 - 09:33

The justice authorities have begun an investigation into the death of Stern, who was considered a leading figure in the banking world.

Geneva magistrate Michel Graber said in a television interview on Thursday evening that investigators thought it likely that Stern even opened the door to his attacker.

"There is no doubt that there was a crime due to a dozen circumstances that we observed at the scene, but at this point in time we have not obvserved any signs of a break-in," Graber commented.

A post-mortem examination is being carried out.

Stern, who was 50 years old, was found dead in his apartment on Wednesday.

Police have confirmed that it was a third party who found the body. According to local media reports, it was some of Stern's employees who discovered the dead banker.

Stern's apartment is in the centre of Geneva, just above a police station.

Ambitious

Hugely ambitious, Stern was considered something of an anomaly in the formal world of banking.

A former senior director of the French private investment bank Lazard, he was once tipped to succeed his father-in-law, Michel David-Weill, as chairman.

But he quit the bank in 1997 after reports of clashes with other partners and a dispute with David-Weill.

Stern started early in investment banking. He joined the family firm, Bank Stern in Paris, in 1977 as administrator at the age of just 22.

He then immediately seized control of the family business. According to a 1995 Forbes article, he convinced his uncles that he could run the ailing merchant bank better than his father, who was forced to step down.

Stern remained as controlling shareholder until 1998, when he sold out.

He was appointed director of the specialty chemical maker Rhodia in 2002, but was pushed out in April 2003 after trying to depose the CEO Jean-Pierre Tirouflet.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Geneva police say the death of Edouard Stern is being treated as murder.

Stern, 50, was the son-in-law of Michel David-Weill, president of the French private investment bank Lazard.

Within the banking world Stern was considered to be very talented, but also ruthless.

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