Accessibility links

Swiss Law Makes It Easier To Seize, Repatriate Funds Plundered By Dictators

Switzerland's government says it will implement a new law in July that will make it easier to seize and repatriate illicit wealth that has been stashed in its banks by foreign dictators.

The new law will allow authorities to seize and return funds that foreign leaders have looted -- even in cases that cannot be resolved through standard international requests for mutual legal assistance.

The move is aimed at helping Switzerland and its wealth-management industry shake off their image as a secretive haven for funds plundered by corrupt leaders.

Switzerland has three ordinances that cover assets previously seized from Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych, Tunisia's former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, and former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

A Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesman said the government had blocked about $70 million linked to Yanukovych, about $650 million in the case of Egypt, and $61 million in the case of Tunisia.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP