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Switzerland Returns Stolen Assets To Tunisia

by Mary Swire, Tax-news.com, Hong Kong

01 June 2017


The Swiss Government said it has transferred approximately EUR3.5m (USD3.9m) in stolen assets to Tunisia, in response to a request for mutual legal assistance.

The funds were transferred on May 26, 2017. The Federal Council said the assets had been frozen in Switzerland in connection with a close relative of the former president of Tunisia. It added that the decision as to what to do with the assets now lies with the Tunisian authorities, and will depend on the proceedings currently underway in Tunisia.

The Federal Council said that the restitution "is a tangible manifestation of the good cooperation that exists between Switzerland and Tunisia. It is a success for mutual legal assistance and marks an important step in the long and complex process of recovering the illicit assets of politically exposed persons, a process to which Switzerland has been committed for years."

In 2011, the Federal Council froze assets held in Switzerland by the deposed Tunisian President Ben Ali and his entourage, with the aim of preventing the possible flight of capital suspected of having been illicitly acquired. Criminal investigations were subsequently opened in Switzerland and Tunisia, and mutual legal assistance requests exchanged. In May 2016, Switzerland made a first restitution of approximately CHF250,000 (USD256,515) to Tunisia.

TAGS: compliance | Switzerland | Tunisia

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