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Swissair liquidator extracts CHF2.75 million from former bosses

Former Swissair bosses have been ordered to pay CHF2.75 million ($3 million) almost 20 years after the national airline carrier went bust. The bill has been presented to 14 former managers after many years of legal wrangling and court battles.

Swissair’s liquidator announced the agreed settlement on Friday, having failed last year to hold the executives liable for the much larger sum of CHF280 million.

The grounding of the 71-year-old national airline in 2001 was received with shock in the Alpine country. The bankruptcy was blamed in part on the 9/11 terrorist attack in the Unted States, but managers were later accused of presiding over a recklessly extravagant expansion policy.

In November 2019, the Federal Court cleared the 14 managers of mismanagement, a verdict that reduced their liability to damages that were put at CHF280 million.

The liquidator now says the sum of CHF2.75 million is the highest figure it could reasonably extract from the ex-bosses, who include former CEO and chairman of SAirGroup Mario Corti and one-time CEO of Swissair Philippe Bruggisser.

The remains of Swissair and the regional carrier Crossair were brought together in 2002 to form the new national carrier Swiss International Air Lines. After a shaky start which threatened the existence of the fledgling airline, Swiss was taken over by Germany’s Lufthansa in 2005.

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