Freeze of foreign assets in Swiss banks extended

The freeze of Tunisian and Ukrainian assets was due to expire next January and February Keystone

The government has decided to extend for 12 months the freeze of assets belonging to the former presidents of Tunisia and Ukraine. 

This content was published on December 20, 2017

The move is aimed at supporting judicial cooperation between Switzerland and the two countries, according to a foreign ministry statement. 

The Tunisian assets worth CHF56 million ($57 million) were blocked in 2011 following a public uprising in the North African country. Another CHF70 million held in Swiss bank accounts were frozen in the wake of a crisis in Ukraine in 2014. 

In both cases, the freeze was due to expire next January and February respectively. 

+ Tunisia’s frozen assets in Swiss banks

+ The funds of Ukraine’s Victor Yanukovych in Switzerland

 The foreign ministry says several legal proceedings have been initiated against suspects in the countries concerned. However, court cases are still pending to establish whether the origins of the frozen assets are illicit. 

“The one-year extension is expected to yield tangible progress (…) and increase the likelihood of the assets being returned to the country of origin,” the foreign ministry said on Wednesday. 

Egyptian connection 

Meanwhile, the government agreed to end with immediate effect the freeze of assets from Egypt in place since 2011 and partially lifted over the years. 

Four months ago the Swiss justice authorities closed mutual legal assistance procedures with Cairo. The Egyptian courts dropped criminal proceedings in the most prominent cases with possible links to assets frozen in Switzerland. 

+ The saga of Egyptian assets

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