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Swiss lower house of parliament voted 6 against 2

On Wednesday the immunity commission of the Swiss lower house of parliament voted 6 against 2 with 1 abstention to not grant SVP politician Christoph Blocher immunity in one of the cases against him for his actions in the Hildebrand scandal that rocked the Swiss National Bank in January of this year.
Mr. Blocher, a stark advocate of Swiss banking secrecy accepted files from a fellow politician, who is also the lawyer for an IT specialist at the Sarasin Bank showing the bank movements of Phillip Hildebrand’s bank accounts. At the time Mr. Hildebrand was the head of the Swiss National Bank. Though Mr. Hildebrand claimed that the transactions were carried out by his wife, Kashya, the Swiss National Bank cleared the Hildebrands of any wrong doing on Wednesday. The SNB stated that the two audits carried out by KPMG have shown that the transactions were not in breach of any of the SNB’s rules or guidelines.
Mr. Blocher’s parliamentarian immunity came under scrutiny when the Zurich attorney general had the Blocher residence searched in March of this year. The Zurich attorney general claimed that the timeframe of the actions under investigation, December 3, 2011, was before Christoph Blocher took office and thus meant he did not have immunity. Mr. Blocher argued that he had been elected to office earlier and was therefore already immune. However, the immunity commission agreed with the Zurich attorney and is allowing it to investigate the actions of December 3. However, regarding Mr. Blocher’s recommendation to the lawyer to forward documents to the political news magazine “Weltwoche” on December 27, 2011, the commission found that Mr. Blocher was acting within his mandate. It has not yet been decided fs these actions though did more to hurt the public interest than defend it.
Speaking out against the decision Thursday on Blocher TV, Christoph Blocher said that the ruling is against him personally because of his political position and affiliations and that were he a member of the SP, he would have surely been found innocent and his immunity would have been defended.
At present the Swiss media is focused on speculating what the Zurich attorney general will find in its investigation as well as if it will be granted the right to investigate Blocher’s actions from December 27. The last ruling is expected sometime in May.
As interesting as this case was the open letter by Valais Tourist Director Urs Zenhäusern criticizing the current political climate in Switzerland and how it is damaging Switzerland’s image abroad. Mr. Zenhäusern specifically mentions the SVP and their politics in forcing the country into two polarized camps. However, he also points out Switzerland’s ad hoc handling of the way it is dealing with taxation laws with other countries, its hostility towards immigrants, especially those most needed for a vital economy and the petty cantonalism that keeps the country from following a unified course of action. No doubt the Blocher-Hildebrand scandal will just give countries wishing to find weaknesses in the Alpine republic another weak spot to attack. What these two cases desperately show is that Swiss politicians need to start working less for their individual gain and reputation and more for the good of the country, which can only be secured when Switzerland is seen as a unified state that cooperates with its neighbours and trading partners.

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