BERN, Switzerland, December 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Federal Council decided during today’s session to extend by three years the freezing of all assets held in Switzerland by deposed presidents Ben Ali (Tunisia) and Mubarak (Egypt) and by politically exposed persons in their entourage. The aim of this extension is to provide more time for criminal investigations in Tunisia and Egypt into the origin of these assets. The Federal Council is thereby taking account of the political transition in the two countries.
At the beginning of 2011, the Federal Council ordered the preventive freezing of all assets held in Switzerland by deposed presidents Ben Ali (Tunisia) and Mubarak (Egypt) and by politically exposed persons in their entourage. The assets are frozen for a period of three years. The aim of the asset freeze is to facilitate mutual legal assistance on criminal matters with the affected states and thus to create the preconditions for judicial scrutiny into the origin of suspicious assets. The asset freezes ensure that potentially illicitly acquired assets are not hidden in other financial centres and thus evade judicial clarification. In the case of Tunisia, approximately CHF 60 million has been frozen and in that of Egypt approximately CHF 700 million. These amounts have been frozen pursuant to the Federal Council’s ordinances on the freezing of assets, mutual legal assistance and criminal proceedings.
Over the past three years, the competent authorities in Switzerland have established close cooperation with the authorities in Tunisia and Egypt. Thanks to this cooperation, significant progress has been made in determining the origin of assets frozen in Switzerland. Nevertheless, neither in the case of Tunisia nor in that of Egypt have investigations made sufficient progress for the preventive freezing of assets to have achieved its purpose. The Federal Council has therefore decided to extend the asset freezes by another three years. The aim is to give investigations in Tunisia and Egypt more time and to take account of the political transition in the two countries.
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