The man arrested on suspicion of leaking Michael Schumacher’s medical files has been found hanged in his cell, Swiss police say.
The man, who has not been named, was a manager at Swiss air rescue firm Rega.
Michael Schumacher’s medical records were allegedly stolen and offered for sale to several newspapers.
Michael Schumacher’s medical records were allegedly stolen and offered for sale to several newspapers (photo Getty Images)
The ex-F1 champion suffered a head injury in a skiing accident in France last December and was flown by Rega to a Swiss hospital in June.
Prosecutors had been investigating a possible breach of privacy at Rega.
The suspect was arrested on Tuesday but denied any wrongdoing. He was found in his Zurich jail cell on Wednesday.
Michael Schumacher, 45, was transferred on 16 June from a hospital in the French city of Grenoble to Lausanne in Switzerland.
His medical documents were shared with the medical and rescue teams involved in planning his move, including Rega.
Michael Schumacher’s manager, Sabine Kehm, said last month that the F1 ex-champion’s medical files had been “clearly stolen” and were being offered for sale.
The records were apparently being offered to media across Europe for 50,000 euros ($68,000).
In June, Michael Schumacher’s family announced that he was no longer in the medically-induced coma aimed at reducing swelling in his brain.
According to French prosecutors, a Swiss helicopter company is at the centre of an inquiry into attempts to sell Michael Schumacher’s medical file, reports say.
Michael Schumacher, 45, was moved on June 16 from a French hospital to a hospital in Lausanne in Switzerland.
Although the former F1 champion was transferred by road, initial contact was reportedly made with the helicopter company.
Michael Schumacher suffered a severe head injury in a skiing accident last December and has come out of a medically-induced coma.
Michael Schumacher suffered a severe head injury in a skiing accident last December and has come out of a medically-induced coma (photo AFP)
His manager, Sabine Kehm, said last month that his medical files had been “clearly stolen” and were being offered for sale. She warned that criminal charges would be pressed if such “confidential files” were bought or published.
The medical records, said to consist of a few pages written by his doctors in the French city of Grenoble, were apparently being offered for sale to media across Europe for 50,000 euros ($68,000).
Now French and Swiss media say the prosecutor in Grenoble is looking at a computer whose IP address has been traced to a Swiss helicopter company, which was sent the medical files while the ex-champion’s doctors were considering how to transport him to Lausanne.
The latest development emerged in French newspaper Le Dauphine Libere, and Swiss media said it had been confirmed by the prosecutor in Grenoble.
Suspicions had initially fallen on the hospital in Grenoble and the ambulance team which eventually drove him across the border.
According to the Grenoble prosecutor, the computer was traced back to a helicopter company in the Swiss canton of Zurich. The company’s name has not been made public.
The file had been sent to a doctor at the company, although there was nothing to link the doctor to the alleged offence.
The news emerged last month when German newspaper Bild said it had received an email offering the medical files for sale. Swiss, French and UK tabloid newspapers were also said to have been approached.
The Grenoble prosecutor said the handful of pages of the medical file sent appeared to date back to late May, and referred not to Michael Schumacher but a pseudonym, Jeremy Martin.
It is thought the latest findings of the French inquiry will now be handed to the authorities in Switzerland.
Michael Schumacher’s family has said very little about his medical progress, preferring to avoid the gaze of the international media.
However, the Swiss media reported on Monday that Michael Schumacher’s wife Corinna had posed smiling for photographs at the weekend while visiting a horse ranch given to her by her husband.
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Michael Schumacher’s medical files are being offered for sale, his management team has warned.
Manager Sabine Kehm said it was unclear whether the documents were genuine.
However, Sabine Kehm said documents were “clearly stolen” and warned that criminal charges would be pressed if such “confidential files” were bought or published.
Michael Schumacher, 45, was placed in a coma after a skiing accident in December but has now left hospital.
It is not clear what the alleged medical data might contain or relate to.
Michael Schumacher was placed in a coma after a skiing accident in December but has now left hospital
However, in a statement Sabine Kehm said: “For several days stolen documents and data are being offered for sale. The offerer claims them to be the medical file of Michael Schumacher.
“We cannot judge if these documents are authentic. However, the documents are clearly stolen. The theft has been reported.”
She added: “The contents of any medical files are totally private and confidential and must not be made available to the public.
“We will therefore, in every single case, press for criminal charges and damages against any publication of the content or reference to the medical file.”
Michael Schumacher’s management team announced on June 16 that the F1 champion had left hospital in Grenoble in France and was no longer in a coma.
The seven-time F1 champion has been transferred to Lausanne university hospital in Switzerland.
Michael Schumacher was placed in a medically induced coma after suffering a severe head injury in a skiing accident in the French Alps on December 29.
Medical experts say rehabilitation from this sort of injury could take months or years.