Swiss gov’t bares $1B frozen funds from Arab Spring countries
Geneva, Switzerland (4E) – The Swiss foreign ministry on Tuesday said it has frozen $1.07 billion worth of bank deposits linked to ousted leaders of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The deposits of 32 people linked to ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak amounted to $700 million Swiss francs, according to Valentin Zellweger, head of the Switzerland foreign ministry’s international law department.
A Swiss franc is roughly equivalent to one U.S. dollar in the current foreign exchange rate.
The frozen accounts of 48 people close to ousted Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali amounted to $60 million. Blocked funds from Libya linked to former dictator Moammar Gaddafi amounted to $100 while frozen assets from Syria amounted to $100 million.
Zellweger said the funds are to be returned to the respective governments of the four countries. However, it will be up to the said governments on how fast they can facilitate the restitution process.
The case of frozen funds linked to former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha took Switzerland five years to return the money to Nigeria.
Swiss banks used to have strict banking secrecy laws but eased such regulation in recent years to clean its image as a haven of ill-gotten wealth from dictators.