Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

ENCORE!

Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday : The Best of the Bard

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

The Tour de France, a PR machine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the plane crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

Europe

Swiss freeze Gaddafi, Mubarak and Ben Ali assets

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-03

Switzerland has blocked 360 million Swiss francs ($415.8 million) of assets reportedly belonging to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as the crackdown intensifies on plundered state funds from North African countries.

AP - Switzerland has found 360 million Swiss francs ($415.8 million) of potentially illegal assets linked to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his circle stashed in the Alpine country, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Some 410 million Swiss francs traced to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and 60 million Swiss francs linked to former Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali have also been identified, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lars Knuchel said.

“In the case of Libya, it was 360 million Swiss francs,” Knuchel told Reuters. “These amounts are frozen in Switzerland following blocking orders by the Swiss government related to potentially illegal assets in Switzerland”.

Both Tunisia and Egypt—where unrest led to the ousting of Ben Ali and Mubarak—are in touch with Swiss judicial authorities regarding their formal requests for legal assistance to seek return of the funds, according to Knuchel.

No such discussions are underway with authorities in Libya, where Gaddafi is clinging to power in the face of an uprising and NATO air strikes.

Neutral Switzerland had previously announced that it was freezing any assets linked to the three North African leaders, thereby requiring financial and other institutions to report any suspicious funds.

The respective amounts were fairly “stable”, based on information provided by Swiss-based financial institutions to authorities, Knuchel said. He declined to name the banks or the cantons (states) in which the accounts or properties are held.

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey was shown on Swiss television on Monday night telling Swiss ambassadors from the North Africa and the Middle East holding a meeting in the Tunisian capital Tunis: “The funds that Mr. Ben Ali put in Switzerland were not very significant. We did not have very good relations with his regime.”

Swiss authorities also froze assets belonging to Ivory Coast’s now deposed President Laurent Gbagbo in January.

Switzerland has worked hard in recent years to improve its image as a haven for ill-gotten assets.

Its cabinet has previously taken blocked funds in accounts held by deposed leaders including Ferdinant Marcos of the Philippines and Nigeria’s Sani Abacha, buying time for foreign prosecutors to build a case for restitution of funds.

Knuchel said that Switzerland had returned $800 million, held by Abacha, to Nigeria, although it took some 4-5 years to complete legal proceedings.

“It was a good example of restitution,” he said.

The Swiss Finance Ministry said earlier on Monday it had started proceedings to return assets of former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, frozen since 1986, to the Haitian government.
 

Date created : 2011-05-02

  • HAITI

    Swiss banks block Duvalier's millions as part of new restitution law

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Mubarak, two sons detained in corruption probe

    Read more

  • SWITZERLAND

    Switzerland freezes assets of Tunisia’s Ben Ali and Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo

    Read more

COMMENT(S)