World Economic Forum security chief found dead on eve of summit

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The head of security for the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, has been found dead in his hotel room on Tuesday morning, a day before the international summit gets underway. A government spokesman refused to comment on the cause, but in a statement local police said that "all signs point to suicide."

Davos, Switzerland
Image: Flyout.

Markus Reinhardt, 61, was head of police for the canton of Graubünden (also known as Grison). He had held the position since 1984, and has been responsible for security at the annual WEF summit for several years. He had previously been a prosecutor for the canton.

In a statement the WEF expressed its "great sadness and regret" at the news:

"During the many years during which we co-operated with him over security for our annual meeting at Davos, we appreciated his professionalism and his kindness. Our thoughts are with his loved ones and his colleagues. The security forces continue to have our full confidence and trust in their work."

Marcel Suter will replace Reinhardt as head of WEF security, and Robert Willi will temporarily head the Graubünden police.

Speaking to Dow Jones Newswires, an unnamed spokeswoman claimed that the death had "nothing to do with" the summit, but some have raised concerns about security.

Robert Seiden of Confidential Security and Investigations, a New York firm, said: "There will have to be a full risk assessment to determine if there is an ongoing threat especially in view of the high level of attendees at the conference."

Over 2,500 politicians and business leaders from 90 countries are expected to attend. The conference will run from Wednesday to Sunday.