Bern freezes assets of N African rulers
Tue, 03 May 2011 05:42:18 GMT
Switzerland says it has frozen assets worth nearly a billion dollars belonging to beleaguered North African leaders that are charged with using violence their people.
Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey revealed the amount during a press conference in Tunisia, where she is on a three-day visit, foreign ministry spokesman Lars Knuchel told AFP.
She said Switzerland has linked USD 473 million to former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his associates, USD 415 million to Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi and USD 69 million to ousted Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
Shortly after the recent downfall of the despotic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, the Swiss government ordered banks and other financial institutions to freeze assets belonging to the men and their associates in an effort to block secret withdrawals from the accounts. .
The embattled Libyan ruler, who is fighting with his opponents at home, faced asset-freeze efforts in a number of Western countries after he embarked on a military crackdown on the country's opposition and revolutionary forces in mid-February .
Meanwhile in Egypt, Mubarak and his family face charges of illegally acquiring wealth and their assets have been frozen.
The ousted president is also under detention for an investigation into the crackdown on protesters during 18 days of anti-regime rallies that toppled him on February 11th.
In January, the French government also called on the banks in the country to freeze accounts belonging to former ruler Ben Ali following his downfall.
On January 14, Ben Ali fled the North African country for the Saudi port city of Jeddah in the wake of a historic revolution that drove him from power after more than 23 years of an iron-fist rule.