ZURICH Aug 4 The Austrian holiday home of
Novartis NOVN.VX Chief Executive Daniel Vasella was set on
fire early on Monday morning, the latest of a string of attacks
on the drugmaker, a spokesman for the Swiss group said on
Austrian police said they had not made any concrete findings
yet but said on Monday that they were not ruling out arson.
The Novartis spokesman said that an investigator had told
him that a fire accelerant had been found at the scene.
"There have been a series of terrorist-like attacks on
individuals and company buildings. Last week, the graves of Dr.
Vasella's parents were desecrated and the urn with the ashes of
his mother was stolen," the spokesman said.
"In the case of the desecration of the grave, it was animal
right activists," he said, adding that the authorities were
currently investigating the incident.
He also said that animal rights activists are also
suspected of being behind a number of other attacks, including
employees' cars being damaged in Germany and Switzerland late
last year and early this year as well as a fire at a sports
facility in France in May.
"That (sports facility fire) was arson," the spokesman said.
"These groups are against animal testing, which is required
in our industry. This is something we try to avoid whenever
possible, but it is something we have to do by law," the
(Reporting by Katie Reid, with additional reporting by
Alexandra Zawadil in Vienna; editing by Karen Foster)