Government names new federal prosecutor

The Swiss government on Monday appointed Valentin Roschacher, a senior police official, to replace Carla Del Ponte as Swiss federal prosecutor.

This content was published on December 20, 1999 - 17:10

The Swiss government on Monday appointed Valentin Roschacher, a senior police official, to replace Carla Del Ponte as Swiss federal prosecutor.

Roschacher, 39, will take up his new post on March 1, the justice ministry said. Del Ponte was nominated in August to head the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and took over at the court in September.

Roschacher will be the country’s top crime fighter and will be in charge of major domestic cases as well as international contacts and cross-border requests for legal assistance.

Roschacher, a former Zurich district attorney, has been chief of operations at the Swiss Federal Police Office since 1996. He played a key part in Switzerland's money-laundering investigation against the brother of former Mexican President Carlos Salinas.

Del Ponte made international headlines with the Salinas investigation; she risked the wrath of Russian President Boris Yeltsin by investigating allegations of high-level Russian corruption; and she snubbed an Egyptian government inquiry into terrorist attacks against tourists.

In Switzerland, she ruffled the feathers of the powerful banking establishment and was dubbed an "unguided missile" for short-circuiting legal procedures to gain information on accounts allegedly linked to the Sicilian Mafia.

Del Ponte's deputy, Felix Bänziger, has been acting federal prosecutor since her departure.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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