ZURICH • Switzerland will implement a new law in July to help seize
and repatriate illicit wealth parked in its banks by foreign dictators,
the government has said. The move is aimed at helping Switzerland and its wealth management
industry shake off their image as a secretive haven for ill-gotten
riches. This issue was in the news again this week when the Monetary
Authority of Singapore ordered the closure of Swiss private bank BSI's
operations locally, and Swiss prosecutors began criminal proceedings
against BSI in the biggest international crackdown on financial entities
dealing with a scandal-hit Malaysian government fund. The Swiss Cabinet agreed to implement from July 1 a law that lets the
authorities seize and return funds that foreign leaders looted, even in
cases that cannot be resolved through standard international requests
for mutual legal assistance. Three ordinances cover assets previously seized as a precaution from
former presidents Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of
Egypt and Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine and their inner circles, although
all three expire early next year. "Thanks to these ordinances, there is now greater transparency,
predictability and legal certainty in efforts to tackle the problem of
illicitly acquired assets," the Swiss Cabinet said. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the government had blocked about
US$650 million (S$895 million) in the case of Egypt, 60 million Swiss
francs (S$83 million) in the case of Tunisia and about US$70 million
regarding Ukraine. The Tunisian assets are set to remain frozen until Jan 18, and the others, until February. The government will review next year whether to extend the asset
freezes. If it does not, the freezes expire and the holders of the money
regain control of their assets. Switzerland has tightened money-laundering laws in recent years and
requires financial institutions to enforce "know your customer" rules.
These also cover "politically exposed persons" encompassing leaders,
ministers and military brass. Over the past 15 years, it has returned nearly 1.8 billion Swiss
francs' worth of assets, more than any other financial centre, the Swiss
Steadyaku47 comment :
Not only does Najib Razak have nine countries investigatingwhat he has been up to with that RM2.6 billion donation and the billions going in and out of 1MDB...now he has also managed to upset his peers - the criminal elites and dictators!
No thanks to Najib and 1MDB, these criminal elites will now have a harder time stashing away the funds they looted from their people and country because the Swiss Cabinet have now agreed to implement, from July 1, a law that lets the authorities seize and return funds that foreign leaders looted from their own country.
The notoriety of this son of Tun Razak grows by the day!