In his first statement since being accused of having accepted benefits for a controversial trip to Abu Dhabi in 2015, Geneva politician Pierre Maudet presented “his apologies” to the people of Geneva Wednesday evening on Swiss television channel Léman Bleu.
The head of Geneva’s cantonal government acknowledged “having hidden part of the truth”, and that the facts were “extremely serious” during the interview. He added that he had come to “surrender”, and that he wanted to protect his family in this way.
However, Maudet stated that he “has the capacity to govern” and does not intend to step down. He wants “first to express himself before the courts”, he said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Swiss News Agency SDA-ATS reported that while Maudet “has been relieved of certain tasks” – notably the prerogative of government representation abroad – he will nevertheless retain his positions as head of the Geneva cantonal government and of Geneva’s Department of Security.
Last Thursday evening, Geneva’s cantonal public prosecutor announced that it wanted to open an investigation into reports that Maudet accepted flights and accommodations for himself, his family, and his chief of staff from the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, who had invited the politician to watch a Formula 1 race. Maudet had previously said that the trip, which cost tens of thousands of Swiss Francs, was private and paid for by a friend. The public prosecutor also said that several members of the Geneva property sector had been involved in the organisation of the trip, without giving further information.