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Radical Party stands by embattled local justice director

Peter Aliesch, the justice director of canton Graubünden is accused of accepting gifts from a Greek millionaire


The fate of Peter Aliesch, the troubled justice director of canton Graubünden, still hangs in the balance following a two-hour long meeting with his local Radical Party on Monday afternoon.

In what was a heated debate, members of the party agreed to stand by Aliesch deciding that he should only step down immediately if he is convicted of corruption. The move follows allegations that Aliesch accepted presents and holidays from a controversial Greek millionaire. Aliesch is reported to have agreed with the decision.

They also demanded an official public apology from Aliesch for his conduct.

Thomas Casanova, a member of the Radical Party, said Aliesch had admitted that he had made a mistake by accepting the gifts, but insisted they had not affected his political decisions and actions.

The Graubünden Radical Party president, Hans Joo, added that the situation had been made worse by Aliesch failing to return to Switzerland early from his honeymoon in Italy to face the growing controversy.

Arranging residence permits

Aliesch is accused of arranging cantonal work and residence permits for the Greek businessman, Panagiotis Papadakis. In exchange, he is alleged to have received expensive gifts and free luxury holidays.

The Graubünden politician, who is also a member of the cantonal government, has denied any wrongdoing, alleging a campaign of defamation against him.

Swiss papers have reported at length over the past two weeks on the lifestyle enjoyed by Aliesch and his wife, Lea.

Aliesch is also said to have arranged meetings between Papadakis and high-ranking Swiss politicians, including the finance minister, Kaspar Villiger. Villiger's office last week confirmed a one-off social meeting, saying discussions had centred on comparing the Greek and Swiss political and business systems.

Aliesch also hit the headlines on Sunday when newspapers revealed that an alleged drug dealer in 1996 had named his wife as a consumer of cocaine. The case was never proven and was later dropped.

swissinfo with agencies

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