Newly-appointed Swiss President and former Minister of Health Alain Berset is under investigation over media leaks involving planned Covid-19 measures, dubbed “Bersetgate” and “Coronaleaks” by Swiss media.
In January, the Swiss parliament decided to investigate Alain Berset, who was Minister of Health at the time, for leaking information about government measures during the height of the pandemic, France24 reported.
The investigation will focus on “numerous indiscretions concerning government affairs related to the Covid-19 pandemic”, the parliament’s control committee said in a statement.
The parliamentary investigation will be conducted by a special working group tasked to “clarify which transgressions have been committed in connection with government activities connected to the Covid epidemic.”
This comes after Berset’s former communications chief leaked government information about the Covid pandemic to the boss of Blick, the country’s biggest tabloid newspaper, Bloomberg reported.
According to reports, the information was leaked to one of Switzerland’s largest news media about confidential government plans in an attempt to influence news coverage of the government’s handling of Covid-19.
However, Blick rejected the allegations.
“The Blick editorial team therefore firmly rejects this representation and formally rejects the allegations. It is true that the Blick editorial team researches and works independently of the publisher and group. We have not received any instructions from anyone, including the CEO. We also firmly deny the accusation that we allowed ourselves to be influenced by the interior department,” Blick said in a statement.
The recent headlines around the possible leaks have also prompted fresh questions about the possibility of illegal stock exchange transactions related to Switzerland’s vaccine procurement.
The federal prosecutor’s office is making “necessary clarifications” before commenting on the matter, Tages-Anzeiger reported, suggesting that meant that criminal proceedings hadn’t yet been opened.
The questions around possible illegal stock transactions were first raised by financial news blog Inside Paradeplatz in early 2021, Tages-Anzeiger said. A spokesman for Swiss finance regulator Finma said it gathered information from various stakeholders in the case at the time and completed an initial investigation.
“No regulatory proceedings were initiated,” the Finma spokesman said, adding he couldn’t comment on the scope for any criminal charges being laid. Finma subsequently decided to make further clarifications and those are still running, he said.
On December 2, retired Swiss banker Pascal Najadi submitted a complaint against Swiss President Alain Berset, prompting the Swiss Office of the Attorney General to launch an investigation into the allegations.
Najadi accused the former head of the Department of Home Affairs Berset of abusing his office under Article 312 of the Swiss Criminal Code, Daily News Egypt reported.
“Members of an authority or officials who abuse their official authority in order to procure an unlawful advantage for themselves or another or to inflict a disadvantage on another shall be punished with imprisonment of up to five years or a fine,” the paragraph reads.
He accused Berset of making false statements surrounding the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.
“Accountability must also apply to Federal Councillors, not only to private persons. Fortunately, we live in a direct democracy, and we, the Swiss people, are the sovereign here,” said Najadi.
Daily News Egypt reported:
In the criminal complaint, he detailed how the health minister told Swiss television SRF on 27 October 2021 — a month before the referendum on extending the COVID certificate requirement — “with the certificate, you can show that you are not contagious.”
Federal Councillor Berset then made this statement, even though his FOPH reported on the same day that ten vaccinated people had been hospitalised because of COVID.
The fact that vaccinated people who fell ill at the time were not supposed to be contagious, while unvaccinated people who fell ill were for several days, was already contradictory to the state of knowledge at the time.
Swiss television later added a clarification next to the transcript of the interview that it was “known that vaccinated and recovered people can also be contagious”.
Alain Berset could have known better. But the Federal Councillor had taken into account neither the FOPH’s own statistics nor the statements of the US Health Authority (CDC).
Even statements by Virginie Masserey, who was responsible for the fight against coronavirus at the FOPH at the time, were thrown to the wind by the magistrate.
“Vaccinated people can spread the coronavirus just as frequently as unvaccinated people,” Masserey stated on 3 August 2021 — three months before Berset’s controversial TV statement.
Masserey also stated what the federal task force had also found. Thus, Federal Councillor Berset told a lie on television a few weeks before the ballot.
Either the health minister lied, or he acted with gross negligence — an act that is also prosecuted in Switzerland. The vaccination campaign has cost Swiss taxpayers at least CHF 500m. Additionally, several citizens have died as a result of the vaccine.