Accused in particular of violation of business secrecy, economic intelligence service and passive corruption, the former boss will be tried from today.
Hans Ziegler’s trial opens today before the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona. The Public Ministry of the Confederation accuses the former big boss of violation of business secrecy, economic intelligence service, passive bribery and insider trading.
Hans Ziegler, who will soon turn 69, is appearing along with the former director of an international business consulting firm. According to the indictment filed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Confederation (MPC), the first would have transmitted to the second 14 documents internal to the OC Oerlikon group between December 2013 and November 2016. At the time, Hans Ziegler sat on the council of administration of Oerlikon.
The two men also reportedly exchanged documents from the Schmolz + Bickenbach steelworks (now Swiss Steel Holding) during the same period. Hans Ziegler was also an administrator and had access to confidential documents
This information would have been used by the consultant for the negotiation and conclusion of business transfers. For example, he was an advisor to Atlas Copco when the latter bought the Vacuum division of Oerlikon (Viking project). He would then have benefited from information from Hans Ziegler and would also have disseminated it within his company.
On two tables
For his part, Hans Ziegler had been recruited by his accomplice as a consultant and had not informed Oerlikon. According to the MPC, he claimed 138,000 euros for his services in the Viking project. The sum was paid in October 2016 to Think & Act, Hans Ziegler’s company, as a provision for the result.
The financier is also accused of having exploited the knowledge acquired within the boards of directors in order to invest in the stock market in his name and for his own company. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office accuses him of having derived a total profit of nearly 2 million francs from these insider trading.
In June 2017, Hans Ziegler was ordered by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority to return an amount of 1.4 million francs. This is the highest sum ever claimed by FINMA for insider trading.
The MPC will communicate during the trial the sentence it intends to require. In November 2016, the businessman has already spent 14 days in detention, following monitoring of his phone calls and emails.
For many years Hans Ziegler was regarded as a corporate savior and a courted but also controversial administrator. Between 1988 and 1991, he was financial director of the Usego-Trimerco group and then of Globus from 1991 to 1995.
Since the creation of his consulting company in 1996, he has played the role of “firefighter” with companies in difficulty, in particular Elma Electronic, Schlatter Holding and Charles Vögele. Hans Ziegler gained national fame in 2003 when he was called to the bedside of the Erb group. But then he failed in his rescue plan. (cause SK.2020.36)