Swiss prosecutor calls for introduction of plea bargaining

Attorney General Michael Lauber says Switzerland is "getting nowhere" with the legal instruments it currently uses Keystone

Attorney General Michael Lauber wants to introduce plea bargaining in Switzerland, as is popular in the United States, to be able to strike plea deals with companies, speed up investigations and avoid lengthy trials. 

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"Today, procedures take too long and are difficult to manage. My proposal is that we can conclude deals with companies," Lauber said in an interview with Le Matin Dimanche and SonntagsZeitung newspapers on Sunday.

The federal prosecutor wants parliament to amend existing legislation. His suggestion comes as interested parties are being consulted on revisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. 

+ Read more about the work of the Swiss Attorney General

In the interview, Lauber said foreign critics of the Swiss legal system bemoan the fact that “fines are too low, it all takes far too long and the penalties come too late”. 

He noted that Switzerland needs new tools in major corruption or money laundering cases.

“We are getting nowhere with the instruments we have today,” he claimed.

Under a plea-bargaining deal, a company would have to pay high damages and take appropriate measures to ensure that the infringements do not recur, in return for the charges being dropped. 

But the company would be subject to a probationary period during which it must prove itself and follow the rules, or an indictment could be filed in court. 

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