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Wednesday, September 2, 1998 Published at 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK

World: South Asia

Swiss trouble for Bhutto

Supporters of Benazir Bhutto burn the Swiss flag

Owen Bennet-Jones reports from Islamabad

The Swiss indictment of Benazir Bhutto accuses her of having had access to money obtained through kickbacks and commissions paid by companies which had contracts with the Pakistani Government.

It says that she, with others, committed several acts to hinder identification of the origin of the funds.

[ image: The indictment will be served on Benazir Bhutto soon]
The indictment will be served on Benazir Bhutto soon
The indictment goes on to list a whole series of questions for Benazir Bhutto, such as whether or not she wants her case to be heard by a jury.

But privately, Swiss officials say that in fact, they do not intend to ask for her extradition, and it is unlikely that the case will ever be heard in Switzerland.

That will disappoint the Pakistani officials in charge of the investigations; they would favour a case against the former prime minister being heard in a foreign court, because they would then be able to argue that the trial was free of political considerations.

Miss Bhutto already faces a whole series of corruption cases in Pakistan.

A spokesman for Benazir Bhutto has rejected the Swiss charges out of hand. He said that they are based on false material provided by the Pakistani Government.

As for what Miss Bhutto will do when the indictment is served on her in the next few days, her spokesman said that the opposition leader will act on the basis of advice given to her by her lawyers.

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