View Full Version : Swissair management hits the fan

2nd Apr 2006, 09:37
Former Top Brass at Swissair Face Mismanagement Charges - WSJ

ZURICH -- Five years after Switzerland's national flag carrier Swissair was grounded, 19 of the bankrupt airline's former top executives and board members are to face mismanagement and other charges.

Among the most prominent defendants will be two former Swissair chief executive officers, Philippe Bruggisser and Mario Corti. Swissair board member Lukas Mühlemann, the former CEO and chairman of Credit Suisse Group, also faces charges.

....Prosecutors have alleged that Swissair knew back in 2000 that the company was saddled with too much debt and tried to mask it with an opaque restructuring plan. The decision to file charges was announced Friday.

or, closer to the horse's mouth:

Swissair-Strafanklage fördert überraschende Namen zutage

2nd Apr 2006, 19:14
Yeah, sure, prosecuted they will be...
But will any one of them ever be charged?

Count on the Swiss "Justice" for not much happening, but more of the taxpayer's $ to be spent in the process :yuk:

3rd Apr 2006, 10:07
The NZZ article says that the suit is serious and will go forward, but one major problem is the statute of limitations for some of the claimed offenses will toll in 2008. With a different interpretation, it might be extended much further, however.

What will make it so interesting is that the officers and directors are very prominent people in little Switzerland, and the suit could make them liable for many billions of SFR, so both sides are likely to work hard to make their case.

One way or another, the argument will have some global impact for aviation. As the proceedings build a public documentatry record, we can expect to learn a lot about how and how not to run an airline.

This will make curling seem VERY tame, by comparison.

Few Cloudy
3rd Apr 2006, 13:27
It is about time these sharks were brought to justice.

Trouble is that they are so thick skinned they just can't see it themselves -
there are those amongst them who wanted (indeed one has) to start a new airline...

The other trouble is that the thing will get delayed on every technicality they can find.

Unfortunately the last boss, Corti, who at least made an effort to rescue things when he realised what was up, is pretty much in the firing line too.
His main problem was naiivety.


6th Apr 2006, 08:54
Quote from www.atwonline.com/news (http://www.atwonline.com/news)

"Swiss prosecutors filed charges last Friday against 19 Swissair managers and its former board in connection with the carrier's financial collapse 4.5 years ago. According to Reuters, among the accused former board members are former Credit Suisse boss Lukas Muehlemann and Thomas Schmidheiny, majority shareholder of cement maker Holcim. The board is accused of having attempted a dubious balance sheet restructuring in the face of massive debts. Former Swissair CEO and Chairman Mario Corti is also accused of having misinformed shareholders in the run-up to Swissair's collapse in October 2001. "The special thing about the case is that it was not business criminals or frauds at work but people who wanted to prevent the demise of Swissair," prosecutor Andreas Brunner said during a news conference. The board is being prosecuted for harming creditors through reduction of assets and mismanagement, which has a maximum sentence of three years in prison. It was not immediately clear when the case will go to trial. The statute of limitations will apply from mid-2008."

The prosecutor has a good point, "it was [...] people who wanted to prevent the demise of Swissair". For years they were trying to save a sinking ship, they were trying to stay in a house that was burning, they were trying to fly without kerosene. Finally justice will hopefully come to the people of Switzerland, Crossair, and yes, also Swissair.