More cases of suspected illegal Covid payments reported

Restaurants and many shops were forced to close and limit access but they were eligible for government funds to soften the impact of the restrictions. Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi

The national financial supervisory body says more than 200 Swiss firms paid dividends despite a ban as they benefited from government-backed credits during the Covid crisis.

This content was published on September 7, 2021 - 11:41

The Federal Audit Office on Monday said a total of CHF43.1 million ($47 million) in payments to shareholders were made during the first three months of this year.

The officeExternal link said it checked more than 125,000 data sets about credits of CHF14.5 billion and notified the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco).

Seco filed 20 criminal complaints about suspected abuse of credits of about CHF5 million by the beginning of May.

It’s not the first report about alleged fraud, but the office said cases were “not a mass phenomenon”.

For its part, Seco on Tuesday announced it had received more than 1,000 reports about alleged abuses of government funds for the short-time working compensations.

The audit office said it examined payments to the tune of CHF11 billion to nearly 160,000 companies between March 2020 and March 2021.

Three financial pillars, also including a loss-of earnings scheme, were set up last year to soften the impact of government restrictions imposed to contain the spread of Covid. Parliament amended the system several times.

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