Criminal proceedings may be conducted against Peter Marti, the special investigator in the leak of the federal crypto affair. The Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) has given the go-ahead for this because it cannot be ruled out that the criminal offences Marti is accused of have been committed.
The secretary-general of the FDJP on Tuesday issued the authorization under civil service law to conduct criminal proceedings against Marti. The license is not an indication of guilt or innocence, the FDJP stated.
Marti was appointed in January 2021 by the supervisory authority over the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (AB-BA) as an extraordinary public prosecutor to investigate a possible violation of official secrecy in connection with the so-called Crypto affair.
Already in September, it became known that a criminal complaint had also been filed against Marti. The AB-BA appointed Stephan Zimmerli as an extraordinary federal prosecutor to investigate the allegations. He will now also conduct the proceedings. The AB-BA did not disclose who filed the complaint.
According to the Tamedia newspapers and “Blick,” the complaint is said to have come from Peter Lauener, the former communications chief of the Interior Department. He is reportedly accusing Marti of abuse of office. Lauener was the focus of the investigations launched by Marti into an information leak in the Crypto affair.
The Crypto affair blew up in February 2020. Media reported that the U.S. intelligence agency CIA and the German Federal Intelligence Service BND spied on over a hundred countries via manipulated encryption devices from the Zug-based company Crypto AG.
Information from the draft inspection report, classified as confidential, leaked to individual media outlets during the administrative consultation. Afterwards, the business audit commissions of the National Council and the Council of States filed criminal charges.
The AB-BA entrusted the former Zurich Chief Justice Marti as the extraordinary public prosecutor of the Confederation with the investigation of the question of whether a violation of official secrecy had occurred. He opened criminal proceedings against Lauener and two employees of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Lauener had to be temporarily remanded in custody, according to “SonntagsBlick”.
Authorizations to conduct criminal proceedings like the one in Marti‘s case must be granted in principle, the FDJP noted. This is the case even if the probability is low that a crime has been committed.
The authorization can only be denied under certain conditions. These are fulfilled if there is obviously no criminal offence, if it is a minor case and if the person against whom the complaint is directed has already been disciplined appropriately.