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shady finances Three more under investigation in PostBus fraud scandal

bus in the mountains

State-owned PostBus claimed millions in illegal subsidies from federal and cantonal governments over the last decade by manipulating accounts.

(Keystone / Urs Flueeler)

Criminal proceedings have been launched against three more individuals for their alleged involvement in the PostBus fraud scandal that came to light in February 2018.

On Sunday, the Federal Police Officeexternal link (Fedpol) confirmed reports from the German-language paper SonntagsZeitungexternal link that it has extended its investigation into the state-owned PostBus fraud scandal, bringing the total number under investigation to six. If found guilty, the individuals face 5 years in prison and fines of up to CHF30,000. 

The latest criminal proceedings target three members of the executive board of PostBus. This includes André Burri, who managed PostBus’ western branch before becoming head of CarPostal France, the controversial French subsidiary of PostBus Switzerland. 

In July 2018, PostBus admitted to hiding profits in its operations in neighbouring France. Three French companies also accused CarPostal France of unfair competition eventually reaching a settlement deal of CHF7.1 million last year.

SwissPost dismissed Burri last September and according to the paper, the former attorney is currently working in local government in canton Jura. Burri did not respond to the paper’s request for comment. 

The scandal and the fallout

The scandal concerns an official audit, which found that PostBus – known for its alpine network of distinctive yellow buses – manipulated accounts between 2007 and 2015 to pocket millions in federal and cantonal subsidies. Some of this concerns subsidies from abroad.

At the end of 2018, Fedpol opened an investigation into the former PostBus CEO Daniel Landolf and the company’s head of finances Pascal Koradi. In March of this year, the ex-Chief Financial Officer of the SwissPost, of which PostBus is a subsidiary, became the third executive in the spotlight.

The scandal has put SwissPost under intense scrutiny and led to the departure of the entire PostBus top management, the CEO of SwissPost and several members of the board. Last September, the company agreed to hand back CHF205.3 million ($214 million) to local and federal government.

SonntagsZeitung/Keystone-SDA/jdp

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