Top Swiss clinics group suspects foreign officials bribed
A Swiss medical group, which includes a top private clinic favoured by foreign dignitaries, said Thursday that it suspected a former boss of bribing foreign officials through a British firm.
A spokesman for the Genolier Swiss Medical Network said it was filing charges "in the coming days" against the unnamed former chief executive and persons unknown, after taking legal advice on an auditor's report which found evidence of corruption to attract patients.
"The lawyers came to the conclusion that there was founded suspicion that the former chief executive may have paid bribes to foreign civil servants through a company domiciled in England, so that the officials sent VIP patients to Genolier," GSMN said in a statement.
GSMN includes the exclusive Genolier private clinic near Geneva, which has often been used by rulers from Gulf and African countries, among others, for medical treatment.
The audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the British company jointly owned by the ex-chief executive had billed 3.3 million Swiss francs (2.4 million euros, 3.1 million dollars) for commissions since 2007, although some of them could not be justified, GSMN said.
The lawyers said there was a need to investigate possible slush funds.
The group is in the grip of a bitter boardroom and legal battle over control after former senior administrator Antoine Hubert was ousted in June along with ex-board chairman Rayond Loretan.
GSMN postponed a general assembly scheduled next week until September 6 following the announcement on Thursday.
GSMN manages six private clinics in Switzerland that employ 550 doctors.
The 168-bed Genolier clinic and its presidential suite accounted for turnover of 74 million Swiss francs, 53 percent of the group's total in 2009, according to its annual report.
© 2010 AFP