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A man arrested earlier this week over the alleged theft of racing driver Michael Schumacher's medical files has been found hanged in a police cell, authorities in Zurich have confirmed.

The man had worked as a manager for air ambulance service Rega and was found dead in a city police cell on Wednesday following his arrest on Tuesday.

An investigation into the theft of documents was launched after Rega and Schumacher's family filed criminal complaints, suspecting violation of professional secrecy. Rega lodged a criminal complaint on July 8 after suspicions of its files being leaked, but claimed that it had no evidence of any of its staff being involved.

A subsequent investigation by a Zurich regional prosecutor led to the arrest of a Rega employee on Tuesday for violating patient privacy rules. Prosecutors claimed that no one else was implicated in their initial investigations.

The news follows Schumacher's transfer from a hospital in France to a Swiss facility in June, which was arranged by Rega, following the driver's ongoing recovery from a skiing accident on December 29.

The seven-time F1 champion's manager, Sabina Kehm, later claimed that medical documents concerning the driver had been offered for sale to Swiss, French and German journalists – for a claimed figure of 50,000 euros (around £40,000). In response Ms Kehm threatened to sue any outlets which published the confidential records, reports the Independent.

The hanged man denied any wrongdoing. Following the alleged theft, he was due to appear before a judge at a hearing. Prison officers reportedly found the body when bringing him breakfast on Wednesday morning.