Blackmail – A woman tried to extort 100,000 francs from Alain Berset

The Federal Councilor lodged a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office in December 2019 against a woman who threatened to disclose private photos. She was found guilty of attempted blackmail.

A woman would have used photos and private correspondence between her and Alain Berset to demand a payment of 100,000 francs.

KEYSTONE

A woman tried to put pressure on Federal Councilor Alain Berset. The Fribourgeois filed a complaint with the Public Ministry of the Confederation (MPC) in December 2019 for alleged blackmail. A criminal order was issued in September against the woman.

The MPC confirmed on Saturday the information revealed the same day by the weekly “Weltwoche”. According to this criminal order, the alleged blackmailer would have used photos and private correspondence between her and Alain Berset. The woman demanded 100,000 francs.

She allegedly threatened the Federal Councilor with disclosing her information to the public in the event of non-payment. The minister lodged a complaint for alleged blackmail. The woman was arrested on December 13, 2019.

The day before, she had sent a letter to the Fribourgeois indicating that she was withdrawing her request for 100,000 francs and that her accusation did not correspond to reality. She returned the originals of the documents she had sent him by email.

Mitigated penalty

According to the prosecution, this renunciation justified a reduction in the sentence. The woman signed a statement last June saying she was okay with all data being totally erased on her used devices.

The defendant must pay the procedural costs of 2,500 francs, the defender’s fees assigned automatically (7,615 francs). The two parties have jointly asked to keep the content of the accusations secret, as they fall within the private sphere.

Found guilty

The woman was found guilty of attempted blackmail. She is sentenced to a 150-day fine at 30 francs, or 4,500 francs with a two-year suspension. She still has to pay a fine of 900 francs. The penal order is enforceable.

The spokesman for the Federal Department of the Interior, Peter Lauener, told Keystone-ATS on Saturday evening that the content of this blackmail attempt conveyed “false claims and undermining honor”. They concern the private life of Alain Berset eight years ago, said the spokesperson.

ATS / NXP

Posted: 11/21/2020, 9:22 p.m.

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