Oprah says incident no 'indictment' of Switzerland

US chat show queen Oprah Winfrey says an alleged racist incident she suffered at a luxury boutique in Switzerland does not warrant an apology from the country.

Winfrey, who claims she was the subject of racism when a shop assistant refused to show her an expensive handbag, told journalists Monday in Los Angeles that it wasn't "an indictment against the country."

"I'm really sorry that it got blown up. I purposefully did not mention the name of the store," she said at the red carpet premiere of "The Butler," in which she stars alongside Forest Whitaker.

"I'm sorry that I said it was Switzerland."

Winfrey, one of the richest women in the world, said she had been in Zurich for US singer Tina Turner's wedding in July and had spotted a swanky, $38,000 crocodile handbag while out shopping.

"I'm in a store, a name-brand store. I'm by myself, absolutely nobody else with me. And I say to the woman: 'I would like to see that bag on the shelf,'" Winfrey told fellow US talk show host Larry King on Internet channel ora.tv.

"And she says: 'No, that one's too expensive. I'll show you this one,'" Winfrey said.

After the media frenzy that followed, Swiss luxury retailer Trois Pommes said the incident was a misunderstanding and the Swiss tourist office formally apologized to Winfrey.

Pressed by journalists Monday, Winfrey said "no apologies necessary from the country of Switzerland. If somebody makes a mistake in the United States do we apologize in front of the whole country? No!"

Trudie Goetz, head of Trois Pommes, on Friday told AFP it was a misunderstanding and that the salesperson was being kind to offer cheaper options.

According to Forbes magazine, Winfrey is worth an estimated $2.8 billion.