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Court frees fraud convict just weeks into prison term

Convicted fraudster, Peter Krüger, walked free after just six weeks in jail Keystone

A Swiss court has freed a former Swiss property magnate, just weeks after he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for fraud. Peter Krüger's release comes a day after the convicted financier, Werner Rey, walked free.

The court in canton Berne freed Peter Krüger after he’d served just six weeks of his term. No reason was given for the early release, but he was required to pay a security deposit of SFr800,000, and forbidden to leave the country.

Krüger was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on April 28. The court found that he had defrauded his company to the tune of millions of francs, and stashed the money in bank accounts in overseas tax havens. The company went bankrupt.

He fled the country, but later returned voluntarily, following lengthy extradition proceedings between the Swiss authorities and the Cayman Islands, where Krüger was living.

His release comes a day after Swiss financier, Werner Rey, was released from prison. Rey had served less than a year of his four-year term, but was freed after a court in Berne ruled he had already served much of his sentence in investigative custody in the Bahamas.

Last July, he was found guilty of attempted fraud and falsifying documents. He fled to the Bahamas after his business empire collapsed with debts of SFr4 billion in 1991.

The appeals court rejected a request by the prosecutor to try Rey on other charges.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR