Hugo Portmann, a notorious bank robber in the 1980s and 1990s, has been given a job as a binman in Zurich. He will take up the post after he is released from prison mid-July.
In April, Portmann was granted parole after serving 35 years in prison.
City councillor Filippo Leutenegger decided to hire Portmann after the former robber’s CV landed on his desk while he was head of the city’s Civil Engineering and Waste Disposal department. A spokesman from the Civil Engineering and Waste Disposal departmentexternal link on Friday confirmed to the Swiss news agency a report that appeared in the tabloid Blickexternal link on Friday.
“In my opinion, every person who really makes an effort deserves a second change,” Leutenegger told Blick. Portmann showed that he wanted to do the job, was fit and he has passed all the tests for the job. The city also has a social responsibility, Leutenegger said.
The 58-year-old Portmann has not served all the prison time accrued from four bank robberies but his lawyer managed to secure parole for Portmann on age grounds. He will be released from prison on July 16. The former bank robber will, however, have to report regularly to the authorities for a probationary period of three years.
Portmann robbed several banks in cantons Zurich and Thurgau during the 1980s and 1990s and also tried to escape from prison several times. He once escaped while participating in a mountain race for prisoners; another time he broke out of the Realta prison in Graubünden.
Between December 2011 and February 2012, Portmann went on hunger strike in detention. He was protesting a potential change in his sentence that could prevent him from getting parole.