Pascal Jaussi. Photo: S3
In an extraordinary twist to his tale, Pascal Jaussi, the founder and CEO of a Swiss space technology firm, is accused of staging the supposed attack that left him with serious burns last summer.
On Tuesday Fribourg prosecutor Raphael Bourquin opened criminal proceedings against Jaussi, who ran the recently bankrupted Swiss Space Systems (S3) in Payerne, on charges of misleading police, forgery and arson.
In a statement
on Tuesday, the prosecutor said Jaussi was found with burns to the thorax and face and injuries to his neck. He was helicoptered to CHUV hospital in Lausanne where he remained for over a week.
Jaussi, who had previously reported threats against his company, told police he had seen his attackers that day outside the S3 headquarters and decided to follow them in his car. One of them then got into Jaussi’s car and forced him to drive to a forest where they doused him and the car in petrol and set it alight, he said.
During the course of the investigation police pursued two lines of enquiry: the first that Jaussi was attacked by unknown persons, and the second that he staged it himself.
An examination of the crime scene and Jaussi’s mobile phone and car, the conclusions of medical experts and a reconstruction of the fire “suggest it was staged”, said the prosecutor’s statement.
Speaking to newspaper 20 Minutes
, Bourquin said he didn’t think Jaussi intentionally set fire to himself “but I support the theory that in setting fire to his own car to mislead investigators the flames leapt back at Pascal Jaussi and burned him”.
However Jaussi “benefits from the presumption of innocence”, added the statement.
Contacting 20 Minutes, Jaussi said he contested the claims and had confidence that the investigation would prove him innocent.
It followed a period of financial difficulties and a break-in to the headquarters.