Swissair's Demise Now a Criminal Matter

Usually when an airline collapses, the public is inconvenienced and airline employees are out of jobs, but in a new twist, Swiss prosecutors took the unusual step last week of filing charges against 19 former Swissair managers and the airline's former board in connection with national carrier's collapse in October 2001. Those charged by Swiss prosecutors include the cream of the crop of Swiss business elite. The public in Switzerland continues to bemoan the loss of what was just a few years back a renowned national airline with a stellar reputation. The former board of Swissair is charged with a dubious balance sheet during a period of huge debts, and Mario Corti, former Swissair chairman and CEO, is also accused of having misinformed shareholders in the run-up to Swissair's collapse. The prosecutor said these people wanted to prevent the demise of Swissair and went too far-thus harming creditors through a reduction of their assets and mismanagement. The former executives could get up to three years in prison. No trial date has been set as yet. Swissair's ultimate successor, Swiss International Air Lines, was born in 2002 with a cash investment from the government and private business, and then merged into regional carrier Crossair before being purchased by Lufthansa.

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