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Basel transport director quits over sex scandal

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Basel transport director quits over sex scandal
Jürg Baumgartner. Photo: BVB
10:31 CET+01:00
The director of Basel's public transport company has been forced to step down in a scandal over sexual harassment allegations.

Jürg Baumgartner resigned from his position at Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe (BVB) on Wednesday at the request of BVB Chairman Paul Blumethal.

Baumgartner, 48,  is alleged to have harassed women by texting, sending them photos “in which he showed himself very liberally” by mobile phone and making suggestive comments, the Basler Zeitung newspaper reported online.

He was also caught photographing women from the Zurich transport network ZVV during meetings, “allegedly for his private album,” the newspaper said.

Baumgartner also faced complaints of harassing staff, including BVB deputy director George Vischer and the company’s media spokeswoman, both of whom took sick leave.

In a statement Baumgartner accepted that he had made “errors” without getting into details.

Canton of Basel-City cabinet minister Hans-Peter Wessels, responsible for overseeing transport, said he was not entirely surprised by Baumgartner’s resignation.

“For the company, it’s the right step,” he said.

The Basler Zeitung said it was aware earlier of allegations about the transport company director but had held off reporting on them until it had more evidence.

The newspaper had been promised an interview with Baumgartner on Wednesday afternoon to discuss his “management style” and to respond to the issue of the “sex photos”.

But the paper said management cancelled the interview and instead issued a press release announcing the director’s resignation. 

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