The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Fedpol issues seven penalty notices on the Postbus subsidy affair

The Federal Office of Police has imposed conditional fines and heavy fines on seven people in the PostBus subsidy cheating scandal. The conditions for custodial sentences were not met. None of the penalty notices are legally binding.

Penalties were imposed on five people for benefit fraud and two people for failing to prevent benefit fraud. This was first reported online by "Blick" on Monday.

According to information on the website of the Federal Office of Police (Fedpol), the penalties include conditional fines of between CHF 56,000 and CHF 420,000 as well as unconditional fines of between CHF 12,000 and CHF 60,000. According to the Fedpol's assessment, the conditions for custodial sentences are not met.

Deception of subsidies

Those affected can appeal against the penalty notices. At the request of the Keystone-SDA news agency, Fedpol did not provide any further details on the question of whether they were former members of management or employees of Swiss Post or PostBus. A spokesperson referred to the presumption of innocence.

In February 2018, the Federal Office of Transport (FOT) made illegal booking tricks at PostBus public. According to the report, PostBus Switzerland had systematically concealed profits in regional passenger transport since 2007 through illegal rebookings, thereby defrauding the public of subsidies.

Swiss Post paid back the entire amount of 205.3 million francs to the federal government, cantons and municipalities. In June 2018, the Board of Directors of Swiss Post decided to dismiss the entire Executive Board of PostBus due to a lack of trust. The then CEO Susanne Ruoff submitted her resignation.

Investigation by Fedpol

At the end of August 2020, Fedpol brought charges against six former members of Swiss Post and PostBus management. The individuals concerned were the former Head of Finance of the Swiss Post Group, Pascal Koradi, the former CEO of PostBus, Daniel Landolf, its Head of Finance, the Head of the Eastern Submarket, the Head of the Western Submarket and the Head of the Swiss Market.

Fedpol accused the six defendants at the time of deceiving the FOT about the actual profits in order to avoid compensation cuts in subsequent years. Fedpol brought charges at the end of August 2020, but remained silent for a long time afterwards.

The reason for this was that it had initially appointed two external heads of proceedings without a legal basis. This was finally confirmed by the Federal Supreme Court in May 2022. The Federal Office ultimately had to repeat the investigation, with new heads of procedure.

In addition, the Federal Criminal Court ordered the removal of 31 interrogations from the files following an appeal by three defendants - they had been conducted by the first appointed and then replaced trial managers.

©Keystone/SDA

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