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Swiss ambassador to Berlin recalled

Thomas Borer has been recalled by the Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss

(Keystone Archive)

Switzerland's ambassador to Berlin, Thomas Borer, has been recalled to Bern following a scandal involving an alleged extra-marital affair.

The cabinet decision is effective at the end of April. Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss said Borer was no longer able to carry out his mission in a "credible manner".

Allegations of an affair with a beautician surfaced in the SonntagsBlick newspaper ten days ago and have been carried by much of the Swiss press since.

Borer has repeatedly denied the allegations. Deiss said the decision to recall the ambassador was made independently of whether or not an affair actually took place.

In an interview with Le Matin newspaper, Borer said he believed he had done a good job as ambassador.

"I have always defended Switzerland's interests abroad to the best of my ability, and I love my position in Berlin, to which I am devoted," he said. "I've always taken care to promote a good image of the country."

Borer, who said he regretted cabinet's decision, said he would "obey" the authorities.

Borer dismissed claims

Borer and his Texan wife, Shawne Fielding, have sought to rebut the SonntagsBlick claims, dismissing the allegations. They accuse the Ringier publishing group, which owns the SonntagsBlick, of embarking on a slanderous campaign to discredit the couple.

According to the newspaper, a department store beautician visited Borer's apartment on the night of March 21. The paper published photographs of a parked vehicle outside the embassy allegedly belonging to the woman.

Photographs showed her getting into a Mercedes belonging to Fielding, which then drove into the embassy garage. The pictures were allegedly taken by security cameras located outside the German Chancellery, located next to the Swiss embassy.

In the mid 1990s, Borer headed Task Force Switzerland - Second World War, which served as the official response and coordinating center in connection with a probe of Switzerland's role during the war era.

In this role, Borer negotiated with the United States, the World Jewish Congress and Israel to resolve the controversy over dormant Holocaust-era accounts held in Switzerland.

swissinfo with agencies


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