Swiss freeze Gbagbo assets

Switzerland has frozen assets worth SFr70 million ($81.5 million) belonging to former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo.

This content was published on May 4, 2011 - 19:11 and agencies

A foreign ministry spokesman confirmed a media report on Wednesday, saying that the assets had been blocked since January 19.

“The government took the decision to avoid any possibility that public money could be misappropriated,” the spokesman told the Swiss News Agency.

He said it is now up to the Ivory Coast justice authorities to show that the assets were obtained illegally. If they request judicial help, Switzerland is ready to provide information about the accounts involved, which the Ivory Coast could then use in a court case to recover the money.

Gbagbo lost the presidential elections in November last year to Alassane Ouattara, but refused to step down, alleging fraud.

After several weeks of clashes between supporters of the rival claimants earlier this year, he was captured in April and is being held under house arrest.

The Ouattara government has launched preliminary enquiries into possible criminal activity by Gbagbo and his entourage.  

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