A senior executive at the Swiss air rescue service, REGA, suspected of stealing and trying to sell the medical report of injured Formula One star Michael Schumacher, has hanged himself in a Zurich prison, according to the Zurich public prosecutor.
The man, who denied the accusations, had been arrested on Tuesday and was found dead in his cell on Wednesday morning. Initial investigations indicated that no one else was involved. The Zurich public prosecutor had planned to question him on Wednesday.
At the beginning of July, French prosecutors said they had traced the leak of Schumacher’s medical report to a Zurich helicopter firm. The details of Schumacher’s injuries, sustained in a skiing accident in December 2013, had been offered for sale in June by an unidentified thief.
According to prosecutors in Grenoble, France – near where Schumacher’s accident happened and where he was hospitalised before being transferred to Switzerland – the IP address of the computer offering the medical information originated from a Zurich firm that was approached to transport the athlete by helicopter to a Lausanne hospital.
On July 8, REGA said it had lodged a criminal complaint with the Zurich public prosecutor against an unknown person or organisation. REGA said the aim was to bring “complete clarity” to the situation and added it had no knowledge of any misconduct on its part.
The medical records in question consist of a ten-page letter from Schumacher’s doctor in Grenoble to the University Hospital of Lausanne detailing the extent of his injuries. The contents of the letter were offered up to journalists online at a price of CHF60,000 ($66,000).
No further evidence
Prosecutors said they currently have no evidence of further suspects and likely will close the case.
"This tragic event leaves us sad and speechless," REGA chief executive Ernst Kohler said, adding that the company is offering support to the man's relatives.
REGA has said it organised Schumacher's transfer to Lausanne and, as part of that, was given a medical report by the Grenoble hospital where he had been treated since his accident.
Schumacher, a German who lives in Switzerland, suffered severe head trauma in late December after falling and hitting his head on a rock while skiing. He lay in a coma for months and was transported to Lausanne for rehabilitation on June 16 after waking up.
swissinfo.ch and agencies