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Suspect arrested in banker murder case

Stern was shot four times in his Geneva apartment Keystone

A woman has been arrested in connection with the murder of French banker Edouard Stern who was found shot dead in Geneva earlier this month.

This content was published on March 16, 2005 - 15:33

A Geneva magistrate said the suspect had "intimate relations" with Stern over several years and had confessed to killing him.

Investigating magistrate Michel-Alexandre Graber said in a statement on Wednesday that the suspect was a French woman, but he declined to identify her.

Stern, a leading figure in the banking world, was found dead in his penthouse apartment on March 1. The 50-year-old was wearing a flesh-coloured latex suit.

"Stern... was killed with four shots from a handgun, two of them to the head, in the framework of a sexual relationship," said Graber, who added that the woman had almost certainly acted alone.

"She had at her disposal the only missing key to Stern’s apartment," added the magistrate.

Graber said he believed the motive for the killing could have been personal or financial, since the arrested woman was engaged in legal proceedings with Stern.

"At this stage, the investigation does not exclude either of these two hypotheses," he said.

Graber said he had issued an arrest warrant for the woman on Tuesday morning and that police had taken her into custody in the early hours of Wednesday.

Ambitious

A former senior director at the French private investment bank Lazard, Stern was once tipped to succeed his father-in-law, Michel David-Weill, as chairman.

But he quit the bank in 1997 after reports of clashes with other partners and a fall-out with David-Weill.

Stern started early in investment banking. He joined the family firm, Bank Stern, in 1977 as administrator at the age of just 22. He remained as controlling shareholder until 1998.

He was appointed director of the specialty chemical maker Rhodia in 2002, but was pushed out in April 2003 after trying to depose the chief executive, Jean-Pierre Tirouflet.

Stern was buried last week in the Jewish cemetery in Veyrier near Geneva.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Edouard Stern was found dead in his Geneva flat on March 1.
He was wearing a latex suit and had been shot four times.
The banker had a fortune estimated at €600 million (SFr927 million).
He was ranked 38th in a list of France’s richest citizens.

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