The Federal Administrative Court sets the expiry date of Bulat Chagaev’s ban on entering Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Schengen Area for 26 August 2026. It rules that an entry ban of nine years is proportionate in view of the severity of the offences committed in Switzerland. However, it exceptionally reduces the ban to eight years.
In July 2018, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) ordered for the third time an entry ban concerning Bulat Chagaev. Having been prohibited from entering the territory of the Schengen Area for the first time between 1995 and 2000 (with the duration reduced on appeal to 1998), then for a second time from August 2013 to August 2018, the former president of Neuchâtel Xamax is this time subject to a ten year entry ban. The SEM justified this new measure with the criminal sentence imposed on Bulat Chagaev by the Tribunal criminel du Littoral et du Val-de-Travers (a local criminal court). On 17 December 2020, following several appeals, the Cour pénale neuchâteloise (the cantonal criminal court) sentenced him to a partially suspended custodial sentence of 30 months (of which 18 months subject to a two year probationary period), for criminal mismanagement, forgery, attempted fraud and mismanagement. An appeal against this latest judgment is pending with the Federal Supreme Court. In March 2019, the person in question appealed against the SEM’s entry ban of July 2018 to the Federal Administrative Court (FAC).
Unique characteristics of the case
In this matter, the FAC considers there to be both a factual and a procedural link between the two entry bans of August 2013 and of July 2018. The Court therefore exceptionally proceeded with an overall examination of these two bans, in order to verify not only the validity and proportionality of the new expulsion measure, but also that of the entry ban in 2013.
Severity of the offences
Given the severity of the offences committed by the appellant in Switzerland and in accordance with article 67 of the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals and Integration, the FAC finds that the entry ban of July 2018 is not only an appropriate measure, but is also necessary to protect public security and order against any new offences. Furthermore, the private interest of the appellant to exercise his economic freedom without restrictions in Switzerland does not weigh up the important public interest at stake.
Therefore, the FAC rules that an entry ban of nine years, instead of the ten ordered by the SEM, constitutes a proportionate measure. However, taking into account the overall review mentioned above, it exceptionally reduces the measure to eight years, taking into account that in August 2013, a four-year entry ban would have been objectively sufficient. According to the FAC, the ongoing criminal investigations linked to the bankruptcy of the football club Neuchâtel Xamax influenced the duration of the entry ban ordered by the SEM back in August 2013. The duration of the entry ban of 2018 is therefore finally set at eight years and its expiry date fixed for 26 August 2026.
This judgment is final and may not be appealed to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.