Ruedi Suter, a well-known veteran of our industry, has lodged a suit against the U.S. government for violation of his human rights and the destruction of his reputation, claiming that he was illegally held in prison for more than 11 months.
The Swiss executive, best known for building up the former Satis Vacuum, which is now part of Satisloh, plans to publish a well-documented book in German and English criticizing the American justice system for the ways in which he was treated.
Suter filed his lawsuit with the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas on June 7. At the same time, he asked Switzerland's Federal Department of Foreign Affairs to support his legal case. During his incarceration, he had asked the Swiss Embassy in Atlanta to defend him, stating that his human rights were being violated, but the embassy declined to intervene because it was not a political issue.
Suter was arrested by a U.S. Marshal at New York's JFK airport on Nov. 11, 2016, based on a civil contempt order related to the bankruptcy in 2010 of Optixx AG, a Swiss company that he controlled and ran between 2002 and 2010. The case was brought against him by Peter Denton, a supplier of vacuum equipment based in Florida who had invested in the Swiss company in 2008. Suter was subsequently acquitted of any charges related to its failure, which was due to the loss of two big clients.
Suter, who was travelling between Zurich and New York for business at the time of his arrest, was accused of being a fugitive from U.S. justice. He was ordered by a federal judge to spend time in jail on four criminal charges of false statements and false testimony under oath in a civil proceeding, Denton v. Suter. U.S. authorities also suspected him of having engaged in tax fraud and money laundering. The Swiss executive was released from a jail in Texas only Nov. 6, after a federal court admitted that there was no legal evidence against him. After various vicissitudes, he was finally allowed to leave the U.S. last Dec. 12.
In his lawsuit against the U.S. government, Suter charges that a U.S. assistant attorney had conspired with Denton's attorney, Bob Allen, to build up a criminal case against him after he stopped running a U.S. firm in Dallas, PFO Global, which went bankrupt in January 2017 under his successor, Matt Gevasco. The Swiss industry veteran led PFO Global between 2010 and the end of 2015, and his management of the company was not challenged in court. He took it public in May 2015. Denton and Suter held no shares in that company, but Suter's wife did.
Suter, who is now 67 years old, is currently running an advisory firm owned by his wife in Lucerne, PFO Global Europe, whose original mission was to replicate PFO Global's business model in Europe. It is now working for private equity companies and other clients, screening and advising them about their strategies and operations in the optical sector in different parts of the world, including the U.S.
Suter suffered a lot in prison. It was the first time in his life that he was unable to be in Switzerland for Christmas. While in prison, he produced 4,083 documents to prove his innocence and good faith in the Dallas case. However, many of his alleged wrongdoings and other false accusations were unfortunately published in the American media during his incarceration. He says he doesn't want to go back to the U.S. after what happened to him, because the legal system there is unpredictable.