Published: 05 Sep 2012 11:52 GMT+02:00 | Print version
Updated: 05 Sep 2012 12:34 GMT+02:00
A Turkish prosecutor is seeking the conviction of a Swiss police chief for the attempted theft from Turkey of a fragment of marble with archaeological significance.
RTS, the French-language Swiss television broadcaster, on Tuesday revealed documents showing the prosecutor’s intentions in the case involving Christian Varone, chief of the Valais cantonal police force.
Varone, highly regarded as an honest and efficient police commander, was arrested by Turkish authorities after spending a holiday in Turkey.
The 11-centimetre stone was found in his baggage at Antalya airport as he was preparing to leave the country on July 27th.
He was held in custody in the Mediterranean city for five days before returning to Switzerland.
But according to a document revealed by the programme “Forum”, the Turkish prosecutor handling the matter believes he has a solid case against Varone.
“It is established that the suspect (Varone) arrested at the airport (in Turkey) while attempting to export a cultural artefact [...] violated article 68/1 of the law 2863 for the protection of cultural and natural artefacts,” the Turkish document states.
The prosecutor requested that the accused be “judged [...] and sentenced in light of the articles mentioned”.
The court case against Varone is scheduled to start on September 25th.
Varone has said that he did not intend to surreptitiously remove an archaeological artefact when his family picked up the stone near a historic site.
A photo of the alleged artefact, taken by a Turkish-Swiss journalist, has been shown on Swiss TV, although the police chief said he could not verify if it is the one he took.
Whatever the outcome of the court case, the incident has been described as a “Greek tragedy” for the policeman, who was said to have political ambitions.
Varone was favoured as a candidate for the Liberal-Radical Party to become a cabinet minister in the Valais cantonal government.
But the Turkish case appears to have scotched that scenario and now raises the possibility that he will have to resign as cantonal police chief.
Switzerland will play hosts Sweden in the final of the world ice hockey championships on Sunday after each side registered a 3-0 semi-final victory over the United States and Finland respectively. READ () »
Jewellery worth more than $1 million made by Swiss luxury watchmaker and jeweller Chopard and due to be loaned to stars walking the red carpet at the Cannes film festival were stolen from a hotel, French police said on Friday. READ () »
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang embarks this weekend on his first foreign trip since taking office, with a stop in Switzerland on the itinerary and free trade talks between the two countries close to completion. READ () »
The Salvation Army band carrying Switzerland’s hopes into the Eurovision Song Contest was vanquished on Thursday night in Malmö, Sweden. READ () »
More than a third of Geneva’s active working population lives outside the canton, with the majority residing in neighbouring France and the rest largely in the canton of Vaud, according to a report issued on Thursday. READ () »
International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid can count on the support of the Swiss federation in his bid for re-election, the sport's global governing body said on Thursday. READ () »
Switzerland headed to the world ice hockey championship semifinals after a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic on Thursday in Stockholm. READ () »
The chairman of newborn mining and commodities giant Glencore Xstrata, John Bond, was on Thursday axed by its annual general meeting in Zug, just weeks after the Swiss-based group was created via a merger of two key players. READ () »
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has nominated former Kenyan minister and member of parliament Mukhisa Kituyi to lead the UN's Geneva-based trade and development body when the current chief steps down at the end of August. READ () »
Geneva-based luxury goods giant Richemont boosted net profit for the 2012-2013 year by 30 percent as expected, with strong performances in its jewellery and watch divisions and by favourable exchange rates, the group said on Thursday. READ () »