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Ex-politician in Geneva cleared of criminal offence over Abu Dhabi trip

Maudet leaving a court building
Maudet had appealed against the conviction by a lower court last year. Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi

Former Swiss politician Pierre Maudet has been cleared of accepting undue financial advantages when he was a member of the government of canton Geneva.

An appeals court overturned a conviction handed down last year to pay a fine and refund the costs of a controversial visit to Abu Dhabi in 2015 by Maudet and his family, according to his lawyers.

The court said there was no indication that the invitation by the royal family of the United Arab Emirates was aimed at winning any favours from Maudet. However, the judges criticised him for accepting undue perks. 

The suspended sentence, which involved a fine of some CHF120,000 ($129,985), led to Maudet’s gradual removal from power, his exclusion from the centre-right Radical Party and a series of legal cases.

Maudet has denied the charges and pleaded innocent, saying he hadn’t broken criminal law. In 2021, he ran as an independent candidate for a seat in the Geneva government, but failed to be elected.

The Geneva prosecutor’s office can yet take the latest verdict to the Swiss supreme court.

It is not clear what impact the latest developments will have on the political career of a former shooting star of Swiss politics.

The Maudet case was also at the origin of a proposal to introduce the right to force out of office politicians in Geneva, approved by cantonal voters last year.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR