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Luxembourg ambassador remains in custody

Friederich's lawyer is to appeal against Tuesday's decision Keystone Archive

The Swiss ambassador to Luxembourg, Peter Friederich, is to remain in custody while investigations into his financial affairs continue.

The Federal Court said on Tuesday it had agreed to a request by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office to extend Friederich’s detention until August 15 because of the risk of collusion.

On Wednesday, Friederich’s lawyer said his client would refuse to cooperate with investigators because the court’s decision not to release him from custody.

Jean-René Mermoud said Friederich’s decision was also a protest against his detention conditions. He added that Friederich was being kept in a cell without windows and was allowed no other visitors besides his lawyer.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office refused to comment on Friederich’s decision to withdraw cooperation.

Falsifying documents

Friederich was arrested in Bern on July 8 – and subsequently suspended – after the Luxembourg authorities accused him of money laundering and falsifying documents.

He has admitted lying about the origin of deposits worth SFr1.25 million ($750,000) paid into bank accounts in Luxembourg, but denies charges of money laundering.

Hansjürg Mark Wiedmer, a spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office, said he was satisfied with the court’s decision, adding that the investigation would continue “in a calm manner”.

Last week Luxembourg announced it had ended its own investigation into Friederich, which was launched more than eight months ago.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR