SWITZERLAND - Daniel Gloor has admitted to taking CHF1.2m (€1m) in bribes while he was head of asset management at the canton of Zurich's pension fund (BVK), the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) has reported.

During a three-day hearing, which continues tomorrow, a court in Zurich questioned Gloor and three other asset managers, including Walter Meier, founder of BT&T Asset Management.

According to the NZZ, Gloor admitted to having taken bribes, but he estimated the amount at approximately CHF1.2m, while the public prosecutor claimed he had received more than CHF1.6m.

The public prosecutor asked that Gloor be sentenced to six years in prison and repay more than CHF1.1m to the BVK.

During the hearing, Gloor conceded to having "taken a wrong path" at some point in his life and said he had "never wanted to hurt anyone", the NZZ reported.

But the Swiss news daily also noted that he claimed the bribes had never been linked to investment decisions he made for the BVK, and that he had always observed the duty of care to act in the fund's best interest.

He also argued that one investment he made in an asset manager - which later lost the BVK several thousand francs - had kept the company from going bust, which would have meant even greater losses for the pension scheme.

The three asset managers charged with bribing Gloor pleaded not guilty, saying they had paid him money solely as "gestures of friendship" or out of "gratefulness", but never in return for favours, the NZZ said.

The public prosecutor has asked that two of the asset managers serve 18 and 14 months, respectively, and that the third - allegedly responsible for the largest bribes - be sentenced to three years in prison and repay roughly CHF3.5m.

A trial against another asset manager reportedly connected with the BVK scandal is set for mid-September, when further proceedings against already convicted Thomas Leupin will also take place, and a final verdict on Gloor is expected.