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Local justice director fights for his future

Peter Aliesch is facing questions from within his own party

(Keystone Archive)

The fate of Peter Aliesch, the embattled justice director of canton Graubünden in southeastern Switzerland, could be decided on Monday, following allegations of corruption involving a Greek millionaire.

Aliesch is due to appear before a meeting of his local Radical Party in Graubünden to explain his association with a controversial Greek businessman, Panagiotis Papadakis. Aliesch has called a press conference for Tuesday.

The Graubünden politician has been accused of arranging cantonal work and residence permits for Papadakis. In exchange, he is alleged to have received expensive gifts and free luxury holidays.

Aliesch, who is also a member of the cantonal government, has denied any wrongdoing, alleging a campaign of defamation against him.

His chances of political survival suffered a setback on Sunday when the national Radical party president, Gerold Bührer, publicly criticised Aliesch for failing to return to Switzerland early from his honeymoon in Italy to face the growing controversy.

Bührer 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 an alleged 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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