2012 October 17
tags: Swiss Banks, Valentin Zellweger
Posted by sage
Ambassador and Legal Adviser at the Swiss Foreign Ministry Zellweger
Swiss Hold $1 Billion in Blocked “Arab Spring” Assets
By Stephanie Nebehay, Geneva, Reuters – October 16. 2012
(Reuters) – Switzerland has blocked nearly one billion Swiss francs
($1.07 billion) in stolen assets linked to dictators in four countries
at the centre of the Arab spring – Egypt, Libya, Syria and Tunisia – the
Swiss foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
Swiss authorities are cooperating with judicial authorities in
Tunisia and Egypt to speed restoration of the funds, but it is expected
to take years, said Valentin Zellweger, head of the international law
department at the Swiss foreign ministry.
“Today a total of one billion francs is blocked in the framework of
Arab spring,” he told a news briefing in Geneva, giving the latest
figures for funds frozen since early 2011.
The bulk of the assets, nearly 700 million francs, are tied to former President Hosni Mubarak and his entourage, he said.
Swiss foreign minister Didier Burkhalter held talks in Cairo on
Sunday with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamal Amr on judicial
cooperation to restore the embezzled funds, he said.
Some 60 million francs linked to ousted Tunisian president Ben Ali
has also been seized, Zellweger said. In line with U.N. Security Council
sanctions, 100 million francs linked to the late Libyan leader Muammar
Gaddafi and 100 million francs linked to Syrian President Bashir
al-Assad and associates are blocked.
Switzerland has worked hard in recent years to improve its image as a
haven for ill-gotten gains, seizing the assets of deposed dictators and
agreeing in 2009 to soften strict bank secrecy to help other countries
catch tax cheats.
“In the past, the affair that was resolved most quickly was Abacha
and it took 5 years,” Zellweger said, referring to assets linked to the
late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha.
Thanks to: http://the2012scenario.com