Documents revealed Thursday during a public hearing give details about the Russian stays of several elected officials and personalities from Romandie. They undermine the thesis of private and Spartan trips, according to the newspaper 24 heures and the Tages-Anzeiger.
The case of the trips to Russia of several elected officials and notable Romans, in the presence of billionaire Frederik Paulsen, bounces back. The newspaper 24 heures and the Tages-Anzeiger publish this Saturday from, three years after the Vaudois courts issued a classification order. These new elements come from the civil proceedings underway in Zurich.
Frederik Paulsen is suing the TX Group press group, formerly Tamedia, for articles on the famous stays in Russia in which he participated with a whole range of elected officials and personalities from Romandie, between 2007 and 2018.
We found there the State Councilors Pascal Broulis and François Longchamp, the former State Councilor Geraldine Savary, who left politics following these cases, and the initiator of these trips, the current chairman of the board of directors. from the newspaper Le Temps, Eric Hoesli. It is within the framework of this litigation that a hearing took place Thursday in Zurich and it highlighted new elements concerning these trips.
Hole in the accounts
On the one hand, it emerges from the procedure that it was Edipresse Developpement SA which advanced the money in at least one of these trips, to Kamtchatka, in 2010. This company was created a year earlier during the buyout process. of Edipresse Publications, of which Eric Hoesli was an executive, by Tamedia. She paid nearly 61,000 francs for this trip, according to the Tages-Anzeiger, before being reimbursed. But not in full.
The second new element revealed Thursday is a hole in the company’s accounts. A hole of at least 15’000 francs which remains unexplained, but which makes say to the lawyer of TX Group that “the participants did not pay themselves the full cost of the trip”.
The audience in Zurich shows that Frederik Paulsen paid more than the other participants in Kamchatka. His lawyer explains that it was because he had brought a “personal friend” with him. A friend whose name and function he knew. Here again, in his plea, the lawyer for TX Group draws a conclusion: the Swedish billionaire would have “covered the travel expenses of several participants, in whole or in part, including politicians”.
It should be remembered that after the first revelations, in 2018, the Vaud Attorney General Eric Cottier had opened criminal proceedings. It had been classified on the grounds that they were private trips and carried out under Spartan conditions.
However, an email, produced by Frederik Paulsen, shows that several professional addresses were used for the reimbursement of various expenses. Eric Hoesli made use of his secretariat at Edipresse. When reimbursing, participants were asked to mention a “scientific and political trip to Kamchatka”.
Seven years later, on another trip to Russia, photos show the participants, dressed in formal wear, at an official reception in Moscow. A few days later, they are seen as a delegation from the Swiss Confederation, during a visit. All these elements weaken the defense of the people heard in the closed procedure of the canton of Vaud, according to which the trip to Russia was private. The Spartan conditions, also advanced, can also be questioned in the light of these revelations.
New elements “to consider”
What do the protagonists say? The daily 24heures contacted them all. There are those who do not comment, such as Frederik Paulsen, given the ongoing proceedings. Eric Hoesli is unavailable because he is traveling abroad. The Vaud Councilor of State Pascal Broulis, who did not respond to the requests of the RTS, recalls, through his counsel, that he was cleared in 2018. “As far as he is concerned and after verification, my client notes that the tour operator has reimbursed him through an Edipresse account. “
For her part, Geraldine Savary says she is unaware that Edipresse played the role of bank in 2010. She reaffirms that it was a private stay and that she financed it herself. In the Tages-Anzeiger, Pierre Lamunière, the editor of Edipresse, indicates that it is possible that his company “advanced 3000 to 4000 francs out of sympathy for the project”.
After more than ten years, however, he claims not to remember exactly. As for the Vaud Attorney General Eric Cottier, the RTS managed to reach him on Saturday. For him, these new elements, which he discovered in the press of the day, are “to be examined”.
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Raphaël Leroy / asch