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Africa

EU moves to freeze European assets of Gbagbo and allies

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-16

The EU has moved to freeze the European assets of Ivory Coast’s incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, as well as those of more than 80 of his inner circle, over his refusal to step down after a disputed Nov. 28 presidential election.

AFP - The EU decided Friday to freeze the European assets of Ivory Coast's outcast leader Laurent Gbagbo, 84 associates and 11 vital industries over his refusal to cede power, diplomats said.

The sanctions target the board that manages the country's coffee and cocoa business, the national oil company Petroci, the port of Abidjan, the state broadcaster and banks, diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

The EU had already slapped a travel ban on Gbagbo, his wife and 57 other Ivorians in late December. The visa ban was expanded on Friday and now totals the 85 people hit by the assets freeze.

European Union governments signed off on the new sanctions following a meeting of experts in Brussels.

Gbagbo and his associates have likely had time to pull their financial assets out of Europe "but the measure remains important for its political symbolism," a diplomat said.

Another diplomat said the sanctions would "especially have an impact on future transactions."

The EU and United Nations have recognised opposition leader Alassane Ouattara as head of state after the country's November 28 election. But Gbagbo has rejected international calls to stand down.

The new EU sanctions came eight days after the United States froze the assets of Gbagbo, his wife Simone and three people from their inner circle.

Three people who were among the 59 people hit by the travel ban in December have been removed from the list, including a French couple involved in security companies in Ivory Coast, a diplomat said.

The new list includes members of Gbagbo's "illegitimate government" and members of the constitutional court accused of taking part in the validation of allegedly false election results.

Military officials, members of Gbagbo's security, newspaper directors and advisors to the incumbent are also on the list.

Date created : 2011-01-14

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