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American Shipper

Panalpina’s Fischer denounces Swissair prosecutors

PanalpinaÆs Fischer denounces Swissair prosecutors

Gerhard Fischer, chairman of Panalpina and former board member of Swissair, Tuesday defended his role at the now defunct national-flag airline, in the country’s biggest-ever corporate trial.

   Swissair grounded abruptly in October 2001, unable to pay fuel and landing fees, leaving thousands of stranded passengers and wiping out many employees and shareholders' life savings.

   Fischer is one of 19 people, including other Swissair executives, bankers, politicians and corporate leaders on trial, which is the result of four-and-a-half year investigation by the Zurich state prosecutor's office. The allegations include mismanagement, making false statements and forged documents.

   'I fulfilled my task with great responsibility,' Fischer said. 'The allegations by the prosecutor's office are unfounded and malicious.'

   The trial will last until March 9.