Former Swisslife CFO Accused of Embezzlement

A former finance chief of insurance company Swisslife Holding has been charged with multiple counts of embezzlement and fraud, prosecutors in Zurich said Thursday.

Dominique Morax, who was Swisslife CFO from 1997 until 2002, is accused of involvement in alleged manipulation of the share price of Long Term Strategy AG, an investment company founded by Swisslife, district attorney Peter C. Giger said.

Morax rejected the accusations, which came out of an investigation that began in 2002.

“I reject as completely unjustifiable the allegation that I would have aimed at harming my employer and enriching myself wrongfully,” Morax said in a statement by his lawyer.

A date for the trial has yet to be set.

Giger said he had dropped an investigation against two other former executives of Swisslife.

Morax is accused of having granted Long Term Strategy guarantees and services worth 4.1 million Swiss francs (then about $2.4 million) after having invested his own money in the company, the prosecutor said in a statement.

Swisslife acknowledged in 2002 that Morax and five other top managers made a 11.5 million franc profit by investing 3.8 million of their own money in Long Term Strategy. Morax’s share of the 11.5 million franc profit was 3.6 million francs, the company said at the time. The scandal led to the shutdown of Long Term Strategy in July 2002 and the start of the investigation.

Swisslife, which sells life insurance and runs pension funds, made record losses when stock exchanges crashed in 2002. The company blamed the losses on an excessive expansion strategy and errors in management and changed its name from Rentenanstalt.