Watch Executive Arrested as Swiss Investigate Fraud, Theft

October 16, 2003

Watch Executive Arrested as Swiss Investigate Fraud, Theft

Swiss police arrested 12 people last week as part of an investigation into counterfeit watches, robbery and theft. At the center of the ongoing case is Jaquet SA, La Chaux-de-Fonds, a maker of complications for numerous high-end manufacturers, and its owner Jean-Pierre Jaquet, who was among those arrested. Jaquet SA, which employs 160 people, was closed for two days following an Oct. 7 police search of the premises.

The police suspect Jaquet is involved in a series of counterfeiting schemes and the theft of gold and watch cases.The gold and watch cases, which could be used to make counterfeit Rolex watches, were taken from a nearby polishing company last year, according to Swiss press reports. Jaquet has denied the accusations.

The scandal, dubbed "the Jaquet Affair" in Swiss newspapers, has caused an uproar in the usually sedate Swiss watchmaking community. An investigator for the Swiss authorities, Sylvie Favre, told reporters, "We are doing everything possible to ensure that the economy of the region is not harmed by the investigation."

by Michael Thompson

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