Swiss freeze Qaddafi assets: How dictators stash their cash 101
Switzerland froze the assets of Libya strongman Muammar Qaddafi and 26 other people from his entourage, less than two weeks after freezing assets belonging to Egypt's Hosni Mubarak.
(Page 2 of 2)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Another 1998 law required banks to ascertain the "beneficial owner" of accounts – that is, the man behind the lawyers. On the basis of those laws, the Swiss government recently froze accounts belonging to Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, Tunisia's Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo, and now Libya's Muammar Qaddafi.
And thanks to Switzerland's new Return of Illicit Assets Act, which took effect Feb. 1 and allows the Swiss government to determine the legality of funds of any person hailing from a "failing state," the account of Haiti's Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier is now under investigation.
"This burden-shifting law is unique in the world of anticorruption legislation," says Mr. Vlasic, who was on the Duvalier/Haiti asset recovery team at the World Bank and now serves as international legal adviser to the Charles Taylor/Liberia asset recovery team.
Since Egypt is not a failed state, it must request within three years for the Swiss government to launch an investigation into the source of Mubarak's accounts. “This gives the Egyptian government sufficient time to launch an investigation,” says Mr. Thelesklaf of the Basel Institute on Governance.
This is Part 2 of the "How dictators stash their cash 101" series. See below for the rest of the coverage.