BERN, SWITZERLAND – Kashya Hildrebrand broke no rules and Christoph Blocher should not have parliamentary immunity: two decisions came from separate corners Wednesday 25 April that could shift the impact of the scandal that led to the resignation of Switzerland’s central bank chief Philipp Hildebrand in early January.
The Swiss National Bank announced Wednesday evening that an audit by KPMG of accounts of Kashya Hildebrand, wife of then-SNB chairman Philipp Hildebrand, “did not identify any activities which might suggest that transactions were carried out via Kashya Hildebrand’s business and private accounts which were in breach of the rules or guidelines in force during the period covered by the investigation.”
The audit was ordered 13 March, six days after the central bank’s governors said that an initial audit had turned up no wrongdoing, but “the business and private accounts of Kashya Hildebrand, wife of the former chairman of the Governing Board, were not included. The second audit covered this.
No immunity before being member of parliament
Right-wing politician Christoph Blocher, who is a former member of the Federal Council and strategist for the nationalist UDC People’s Party, and currently a member of parliament, has claimed parliamentary immunity for his role in the Hildebrand scandal.
The immunity commission of the lower house of parliament today voted 6 to 2 with 1 abstention against giving him immunity for events that occurred 3 December. This is the date when an IT specialist at Hildebrand’s bank, through a lawyer who is a politician, showed Blocher details of Hildebrand’s personal bank account, which is protected under Swiss privacy laws. Blocher had been elected to parliament but was not yet a member. The commission refused, however, voting 5-4, to lift immunity for Blocher’s actions 27 December. He is under investigation by Zurich’s attorney general for breaking bank secrecy laws on both dates.
Blocher and Hildebrand had been at odds for months over the SNB’s policies. Hildebrand resigned 9 January as the scandal unfolded, saying that while he and his wife had done no wrong, he did not want to see the Swiss central bank dragged down by the affair.