ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss judges will deliver their verdict on Wednesday at the end of a trial of a former top banker and six others that has gripped the nation with allegations of fraudulent deals and huge strip club bills since it began in January.
In one of the country’s highest-profile corporate crime trials in decades, Zurich’s district court will rule whether to convict Pierin Vincenz, a former Swiss ‘banker of the year’ charged with making millions through illicit deals while he was chief executive of cooperative lender Raiffeisen Switzerland.
All seven defendants deny the allegations against them.
Prosecutors are seeking nearly 70 million Swiss francs ($75 million) in total in assets from the seven defendants, as well as pursuing financial penalties and prison sentences ranging from two to six years for all but one of them.
The case centres around conflicts of interest on deals between a number of firms in which Vincenz and another defendant were involved. Both men are also accused of forgery.
The trial, which was moved from a courthouse to Zurich’s Volkshaus theatre due to the intense public interest, has also featured the 65-year-old’s alleged misuse of corporate expenses.
Vincenz told the court when it began in January that a near 200,000 Swiss franc expenses bill for strip club visits was largely business-related, while a 700 franc dinner with a woman he met on dating app Tinder was justified because he was considering her for a real estate job.
Five other defendants are accused of anti-competitive behaviour and acting as accessories on the corporate deals, through which prosecutors allege they made millions.
($1 = 0.9293 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Alexander Smith)