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New details emerge about army chief scandal

Defence Minister Samuel Schmid knew about allegations of sexual harassment by the former head of the army earlier than he admitted.

This content was published on September 3, 2008 - 17:59

A spokeswoman for the Swiss military court told Swiss radio on Wednesday that Schmid knew about the charges laid against Roland Nef in November 2006.

She said the military justice authorities had informed Schmid as well as the then head of the armed forces, Christoph Keckeis, about the details of the legal proceedings.

Schmid had claimed he became aware of the pending case against Nef only in April 2007 during the selection process for the armed force's top post.

The spokeswoman said informing the defence minister and army head was a standard procedure anytime charges are laid against a high-ranking officer.

The defence ministry issued a statement later on Wednesday confirming that Schmid had been informed in November 2006, but had paid no heed to the case since the selection procedure had yet to begin.

The charges against Nef were leaked to the press in early July. The army chief later admitted a criminal investigation had been underway against him for coercion of a former girlfriend while he was a candidate for the job.

Schmid suspended Nef from his post on July 21 and Nef resigned a few days later.

Schmid has faced calls for his own resignation for not informing his cabinet colleagues of the investigation when he presented Nef as his preferred candidate.

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