Friederich joins long list of disappointing diplomats

Peter Friederich is just one of many Swiss officials who have embarrassed the country.

This content was published on July 12, 2002 - 10:00

The Friederich case comes as the foreign ministry is under fire from a former ambassador to Germany, Thomas Borer, who resigned after being recalled last April.

He was ordered to return to Bern amid revelations that he was having an extra-marital affair - a story which his alleged mistress now says was untrue. Borer and his wife have since publicly slammed the foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, for the decision.

Before he was recalled, Borer was Switzerland's most colourful diplomat, constantly seen at parties with his wife, Shawne Fielding - a former Miss Texas. She caused ripples last year when she dressed up as a cow-girl for a photo-shoot at the Berlin embassy last year. Her husband's bosses in Bern were not amused.

Before Borer, the last scandal involving a Swiss diplomat was in June 1999, when the Swiss ambassador to Croatia, Petar Troendle, was forced out amid irregularities in his expenses' claim for the National Day celebrations on August 1.

Catalogue of embarrassments

July 1997: A vice-consul was arrested for selling Swiss government documents to the Romanian secret service.

January 1997: The Swiss ambassador to the United States, Carlo Jagmetti, took early retirement after a Sunday newspaper published a confidential report in which he used strong language to describe Jewish efforts to gain compensation for dormant accounts held by Holocaust victims.

August 1996: A former Swiss vice-consul, Wulf Leuz, was relieved of his duties at the Swiss embassy in Seoul, South Korea, in the wake of allegations that he had helped a Romanian secret agent enter Switzerland with false papers. He later resigned.

April 1996: The Swiss ambassador to Romania, Jean-Pierre Vettovaglia, was relieved of his duties after he allegedly had a relationship with a 21-year-old Romanian woman, who turned out to be a secret service agent. He was accused of falsifying documents and abusing his position. He allegedly tried to find out how much money was held in Switzerland by the former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and Romania's former King Michael. It was never proved that he had passed any information on to the agent. He was transferred to Paris to represent Switzerland at the Organisation of Francophone countries.

February 1996: The Swiss representative in Belgrade, Benoit Junod, was relieved of office amid allegations that he violated sanctions against the former Yugoslavia by importing goods worth SFr126,000 and falsifying documents.

September 1989: The Swiss Ambassador to Germany, Alfred Hohl, was said to have got roaring drunk on a boat trip and insulted his German hosts. A colleague reportedly had to drag him off the boat. He later said he was telling a joke. He was transferred to Athens in 1991.

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