Prosecutor Patrick Müller was taken off the investigation into the mysterious deaths just as broadcaster SF’s investigative news show 10 vor 10 revealed that Müller is also president of a handball club that receives sponsorship money from the Connyland fun park.
Speaking to 10 vor 10, Connyland spokesman Erich Brandenberger said the park sponsored Kreuzlinger handball club to the tune of around 2,000 ($2,170) to 3,000 francs per year.
But chief prosecutor Andreas Zuber denied that the relatively minor sponsorship deal was in any way compromising for Müller. Indeed, Zuber pointed out to newspaper Tagblatt Online that Müller is still investigating another aspect of the case: anonymous threats made against Connyland staff.
Amid mounting anger at the deaths of the two dolphins, Shadow and Chelmers, workers at Connyland have admitted the threats have made them fear for their lives.
Shadow, an eight-year-old dolphin, died last Tuesday, 20 days after a huge techno party was held just 50 metres from the amusement park in Lipperswil where the aquarium is located.
Conservationists said the animal’s immune system may have been damaged by loud music at the 16-hour party.
On Sunday, a 30-year-old dolphin called Chelmers died with the same symptoms as Shadow as police began to consider the alternative possibility that both animals may have been poisoned.
A total of eight dolphins have died at Connyland in the last three years.