Organised crime still public enemy number one, says Federal Prosecutor

Switzerland's Federal Prosecutor, Valentin Roschacher Keystone

Organised crime is still the top threat facing Switzerland, according to the country's Federal Prosecutor. Valentin Rorschacher said that in comparison, the rise in right-wing extremism was a minimal danger.

This content was published on August 26, 2000 - 16:06

In an interview with the German-language newspaper "Der Bund" on Saturday, Rorschacher said that highly qualified people committed economic crime, such as money laundering. Such crime was very difficult to track, he said, and called for an increase in the number of specialist investigators.

Despite recognising that the rising trend of right-wing violence was worrying, the Federal Prosecutor said that the threat it posed to Switzerland should not be dramatised. Neo-nazi extremists should not be given a media platform, he said.

Rorschacher said that unlike the economic criminals, extreme right-wingers were largely immature youngsters. The neo-nazi scene, he said, was not a particularly intelligent one, and attracted the same kind of people as football hooliganism.

But the head of Switzerland's anti-racism commission has reinforced calls for action against the extreme right. In a German-language radio interview on Saturday, Georg Kreis said that he was appalled that the Swiss tolerated neo-nazism and even indirectly encouraged the extremists.

Kreis attacked the Swiss People's Party for encouraging anti-foreigner feeling, and for failing to condemn the extreme right. He also said that the authorities should set up a nation-wide counselling service, similar to a successful model tried in Norway, to help neo-nazis who wanted to quit the extremist scene.

There have been growing fears that the country's neo-nazis are becoming more extreme still. The head of the Swiss anti-terrorist police, Hans-Rudolf Knaus, backed up such concerns.

Knaus told the German-language newspaper "Berner Zeitung" that it was possible some extremist groups were moving towards terrorism. Last week, the Justice Ministry announced the seizure of 20 home-made bombs during an investigation into "Nationale Offensive", a group based in Canton Berne.

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