UN Tribunal prosecutor questioned in Ticino corruption case

Carla Del Ponte was questioned about her dealings with suspects in the corruption enquiry. Keystone / EPA PHOTO / Valdrin Xhema

The former Swiss federal prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, who is now chief prosecutor at United Nations war crimes tribunal in the Hague, has been questioned about a widening corruption scandal in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino.

This content was published on August 10, 2000 - 12:40

Del Ponte was questioned last week by the Ticino special prosecutor dealing with the case, her office confirmed on Thursday. Details were not disclosed.

When she was Swiss federal prosecutor, Del Ponte is reported to have held a meeting with a Ticino judge, Franco Verda, who was arrested last Friday for allegedly colluding with an Italian businessman, Gerardo Cuomo, who is accused of cigarette smuggling and money laundering.

Italian newspapers have reported that Del Ponte was asked by Verda for information about a pending request for judicial aid from the Italian authorities. Del Ponte is said to have warned Verda to distance himself from Cuomo.

Cuomo was arrested in Zurich in May on suspicion of money laundering and belonging to a criminal organisation, and is awaiting extradition to Italy.

Verda's wife, a lawyer who acted for Cuomo, has also been detained.

The Italian finance minister, Ottaviano Del Turco, on Tuesday blamed Switzerland's banking system for the corruption case, and criticised the Swiss authorities for failing to offer legal assistance.

The Swiss authorities rejected the accusation, and noted that Switzerland cannot offer legal assistance in a cigarette smuggling case.

The Italian prosecutor leading the inquiry, Giuseppe Scelsi, on Wednesday described working relations with Switzerland as excellent.

swissinfo with agencies

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