Minister rapped over private jet trip to Brazil
Switzerland’s minister for sport, Ueli Maurer, is under fire for spending more than 200,000 francs ($205,000) on a private jet to take him to Brazil to watch the Swiss national football team in a World Cup match last year, it emerged on Thursday.
According to tabloid Blick , Maurer’s 60-hour trip to Brasilia to watch Switzerland-Ecuador from a VIP box next to Fifa president Sepp Blatter in June 2014 cost 202,100 francs, ten times the price of a first-class return ticket on a scheduled service.
The sports minister and his two companions flew on a Falcon 7X hired from the Schindler family (the Swiss elevator makers) instead of an official government plane.
Explaining the action, Maurer’s federal department told Blick the only appropriate government jet was “under inspection” at the time and there wasn’t time to organize any other official means of transportation.
According to the paper, sources close to Maurer say the minister refuses to take responsibility for the travel arrangements since he was a last minute replacement on the trip.
Foreign minister and then president Didier Burkhalter was due to fly on the private jet to Brazil but had to pull out at the last minute.
Politicians have poured scorn on the high cost of the flight.
Christian Levrat, leader of the social democrat (SP) party, said Maurer’s attendance at the game “was the most expensive ticket of all time.”
“I would have expected them to find a more economic solution or renounce the trip,” he told Blick.
Asked by the paper about the “cost-effectiveness” of his Brazil flight, Maurer declined to comment.
The Swiss national football team – known as the ‘Nati’ – won the game against Ecuador 2-1 after a late goal by Haris Seferovic.