Blocher demands backdated pension from 'leftwing' state

Blocher denies he needs to dip into his pension because of financial difficulties. Keystone / Valentin Flauraud

The billionaire industrialist Christoph Blocher is demanding backdated pension payments of CHF2.7 million ($2.85 million) for his time as cabinet minister. In justifying the claim, he reasoned that Swiss politics has become too leftwing.

This content was published on July 6, 2020 - 11:02

Thirteen years ago, the right-wing Swiss People’s Party figurehead said he would not draw his ministerial pension entitlement of around CHF20,000 per month. Blocher served as justice minister between 2003 and 2007, but was controversially denied a second term by parliament.

Last week, Blocher announced a U-turn on his previous decision to waive his pension. “When I see how the red-green parliament spends money or [Justice Minister] Karin Keller-Sutter acting as a mouthpiece for interest groups opposing the initiative limiting immigration, then I see no reason to give gifts to the state," he told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

The 79-year-old, who made his fortune from the EMS chemical group, denied rumours that he was dipping into his pension pot to stave off financial difficulties. He said his annual tax obligations outstrip the benefits he will get from his government pension.

The Federal Chancellery confirmed on Friday that it had accepted Blocher’s pension demands.

Blocher was for many years one of the chief strategists for the People’s Party as it drew up a tough stance against perceived “excessive” immigration and frequently criticised Switzerland’s foreign policy towards the European Union as being too cosy.

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