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Graubünden justice director resigns from Radical Party

Aliesch has been under media fire for the past two weeks

(Keystone)

The embattled justice director of canton Graubünden, Peter Aliesch, has resigned from the Radical Party, following allegations of corruption involving a Greek millionaire.

However, Aliesch said at a press conference on Friday that he would not give up his post as justice director for the canton. The politician will keep his position until the elections in spring next year.

Hans Joos, president of Graubünden's Radical Party, said Aliesch's resignation came as a "liberation". However, Joos admitted that the affair had tarnished the party's image.

Aliesch has been accused of arranging cantonal work and residence permits for a controversial Greek businessman, Panagiotis Papadakis. In exchange, he is alleged to have received expensive gifts and free luxury holidays.

The Graubünden politician has denied any wrongdoing, saying a campaign of defamation is being waged against him.

His chances of survival had suffered a setback on Sunday. The national president of the Radical Party, Geröld Burrer, publicly criticised Aliesch for failing to return to Switzerland early from his honeymoon in Italy to face the growing controversy.

Burrer appeared to distance himself from Aliesch, saying he had "lost his credibility".

Swiss papers have reported at length over the past two weeks on the lifestyle enjoyed by Aliesch and his wife, Lea.

Aliesch is also said to have brought Papadakis together with high-ranking Swiss politicians, including the finance minister, Kaspar Villiger. Villiger's office last week confirmed a one-off social meeting, saying discussions had centred on comparing the Greek and Swiss political and business systems.

Aliesch also hit the headlines on Sunday when newspapers revealed that a suspected drug dealer in 1996 had named his wife as a consumer of cocaine. The case was never proven and was later dropped.

swissinfo with agencies


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