Dieter Behring, the most extensive Swiss fraud case

Dieter Behring operated an investment trading system from 1998 to 2006, which turned out to be a snowball system. A total of CHF 1.2 billion in client funds flowed into Dieter Gehring's snowball system, causing an estimated financial loss of CHF 800 million. Dieter Behring was sentenced on 30 September 2016 by the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona to five and a half years in prison for professional fraud. The appeal lodged against this sentence was dismissed in its entirety by the Federal Supreme Court (see BGer 6B_28/2018 of the Federal Supreme Court of 07.08.2018). Dieter Behring died on March 5, 2019, leaving behind hundreds of aggrieved investors.

Dieter Behring set up an extensive snowball system in the 1990s. Like many a fraud story, Dieter Behring promised high returns at low risk. To this end, he marketed a computer-aided investment system, which, however, turned out to be non-existent. With his buckle system, Dieter Behring cheated numerous investors, from small investors to entrepreneurs.

The criminal proceedings against Dieter Behring dragged on very long. This was also because he appealed as often as possible against procedural acts of the Federal Prosecutor's Office. The Federal Court had to deal with his case about a dozen times before the actual trial.

Due to the complexity and delaying tactics of Dieter Behring, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland was no longer able to prosecute Dieter Behring for the fraudulent acts prior to 2001. The Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona finally convicted Dieter Behring for criminally relevant conduct in the years 2001 to 2004.

Dieter Behring would have had to begin his five-and-a-half year prison term at the beginning of 2019, but was able to postpone his sentence for medical reasons. Dieter Behring finally died on 5 March 2019, leaving behind a large number of aggrieved investors.

"The Federal Criminal Court assessed a total of 1189 claims for damages and awarded the private plaintiffs approximately CHF 207 million in damages."

Several hundred private plaintiffs have participated in the criminal proceedings, asserting claims in the amount of CHF 420 million. The Federal Criminal Court has assessed a total of 1189 claims for damages and awarded the private plaintiffs approximately CHF 207 million.

In more than 373 cases, the court referred to civil proceedings, particularly because of the lack of quantification or because causality was not established. Claims amounting to approximately CHF 213 million were thus referred to civil proceedings or were already time-barred. The Swiss Confederation had also been awarded a compensation claim of around CHF 100 million.

Dieter Behring's appeal against the decision of the Federal Criminal Court was dismissed in full in 2018 (Federal Supreme Court decision 6B_28/2018 of 07.08.2018). On March 5, 2019, Dieter Behring passed away, leaving behind hundreds of aggrieved investors.