The embattled Geneva minister Pierre Maudet looks set to face a trial for allegedly accepting unauthorised benefits - charges he denies. The cantonal prosecutor has reportedly finalised his investigation and plans to send the case to court.This content was published on July 2, 2020 - 11:46
Swiss public television, RTS, reported on July 1 that the Office of the Attorney General of Geneva had informed Maudet and four other defendants of its plans to prepare an indictment and to send the case to court.
Geneva prosecutors told RTS that they plan to send the case to trial concerning a trip to Abu Dhabi in 2015. Since August 2018, Maudet has been under investigation for accepting undue financial benefits, notably a trip with his family to the United Arab Emirates to attend the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 race in 2015.
Prosecutors said on Wednesday that they also plan to pursue the case of a 2017 survey carried out on Maudet’s behalf, an authorisation for a Geneva bar, and for breaches of official secrecy.
But the attorney general’s office plans to close two other strands of the investigation linked to the minister’s birthday party in 2018 and allegations of funding from the hotel chain Manotel in Geneva.
The various parties now have until August 17 to request additional information and witnesses. If there are no surprises, an indictment will probably be filed before the end of the year and a trial could take place in 2022, according to the Le Temps newspaper.
Maudet, who unsuccessfully ran for the position of Swiss foreign minister in 2017, has always denied the allegations and apologised for his “imperfections” but ruled out stepping down. On Wednesday he held a press conference via Léman Bleu TV where he reiterated his position.
“I am not a victim but a target,” he declared, adding that the prosecutors’ charges were “weak and their thesis is fragile”.
“I will resign if I am convicted… I’m happy that justice can soon decide.”
After the launch of the investigation, the 42-year-old centre-right Radical Party politician was stripped of his powers in the cantonal executive as president and head of the security department. He was later mandated to run a newly created department in charge of business promotion.
The cantonal chapter of the Radical Party as well as the national leadership have called on Maudet to step down. He has refused to comply, saying legal investigations are still underway.