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Criminal complaint filed into corruption allegations

An investigation has begun into the allocation of contracts at SECO Keystone

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has filed a criminal complaint with the Federal Prosecutor’s Office into allegations of corruption. An employee who is alleged to be involved has been temporarily suspended.

After reports in the Tages-Anzeiger and Der Bund newspapers on Thursday, the economics ministry confirmed that an administrative investigation had been launched after they were informed of the claims a week earlier. A criminal complaint was announced later on Thursday.

The newspapers alleged that a departmental head at SECO had developed suspicious business dealings with an external company, giving out IT contracts relating to the unemployment insurance and receiving VIP tickets, trips and gifts in excess of tens of thousands of francs in return.

Amongst other points, they also claimed that the company had billed SECO for too many working hours.

The director of the Federal Audit Office, Michel Huissoud, called the allegations “shocking” and added that SECO had to clarify that all internal procedures and checks had been functioning properly.

Earlier this month it was also reported that between 2009 and 2011 SECO awarded contracts worth around CHF34 million ($37.6 million) without a public bidding process. Bidding should have taken place based on the values of the individual contracts.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR