Switzerland eyes law on frozen dictator funds

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Ferdinand Marcos. AFP FILE PHOTO

GENEVA—Switzerland, currently in the process of restituting assets to several former autocratic countries, is working on a new law aimed at simplifying the process of freezing and unblocking such funds, the government said Wednesday.

The law under construction would regulate “the administrative confiscation and restitution of dictator assets,” the government said in a statement.

Bern presented its pre-law proposal to parliament for consultations on Wednesday, stressing it was the first such proposal of its kind in the world.

Switzerland has been freezing the assets of dictators and restituting them to the countries in question for the past 25 years.

It blocked funds embezzled by Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Sani Abacha of Nigeria and Vladimir Montesinos of Peru, and has since restituted some 1.7 billion Swiss francs (1.4 billion euros, $1.75 billion) to these countries.

At the height of the Arab Spring in early 2011, the central European country famous for its banks froze some 60 million Swiss franks linked to ousted Tunisian dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, and around $700 million linked to ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

The Alpine state also blocked 100 million Swiss francs from Libya and another 100 million from Syria.

The new law proposal includes a number of existing rules in this domain coupled with new elements aimed at simplifying the process through better cooperation and the standardization of certain procedures.

This, Bern hopes, will help ensure that former dictators cannot recuperate frozen funds due to mistakes made in their countries’ requests for international judicial cooperation.

New leaders in formerly autocratic countries often have problems making such requests due to lack of experience, and when requests are not made correctly, Switzerland cannot proceed with blocking or restituting assets.

The new law would mandate measures aimed at helping the country of origin make its request and recuperate the frozen money, including Swiss training for authorities and legal counsel.

In a new twist, Switzerland could also provide all relevant information to the new authorities in the country of origin, including long-guarded banking details, to help them draft their request for international judicial cooperation.

The new law would also make it possible for Bern to block assets as soon as a dictator falls, and would bar Switzerland from maintaining a block for more than 10 years.

The banks managing such assets would meanwhile be obligated to immediately report the suspicious funds to the Swiss foreign ministry, or risk fines of up to 250,000 Swiss francs, according to the proposal.

While frozen in Switzerland, the funds must be managed conservatively, and any interest gains should be returned to the country in question, along with the capital, according to rules already in place.

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  • Wadav

    $1.75B lng ang nakita nila sa tatlong kawatan na to??? When Marcos was airlifted by the Americans in 1986, it was believed nakadala sila ng $10B.. uulitin ko 10 bilyon dolyares! ang liit naman ng pinarada ng Swiss gov’t..

  • spiritnsoul700

    The introducing of assets and ill gotten wealth in bank of Switzerland had took place for the past 25 years and ever since corrupt politicians criminals and illegal businessmen had took alternative steps to safe keep their assets and wealth .

    The freezing of assets and ill gotten wealth in bank of Switzerland is an old news where the rests of the world, corrupt politicians and criminal syndicates knew.
    So anybody who come to think that your present corrupt politicians has assets in bank of Switzerland, you are one who is very late on up to date in world events and developments..

    • EOJ

      Santisima. Kakahilo!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pia.reign.9 Pia Reign

    Mas Mayaman pa rin ang COJUANGCO Aquino. Talo ng mga COJUANGCO Aquino ang yaman Nina Marcos. Sisiw Lang sina Marcos kumpara sa mga yan. Magkano pork barrel ni Presidente ngayon? Sixty billion Kada taon ang pork ni PNOY . Sa anim na taon my 60 billion Kada taon wow!

    • lucidlynx

      Sinong Cojuangco Aquino? Those are two families. And within the Cojuangco clan, there are factions. Even the Aquino clan is not united. And where do you get your figures? 60 billion what? You mean the budget? That is not pork.

      Get your facts straight. Or maybe, you are not an intelligent person and that’s why your post is incoherent.

      • mamer2

        Short but SWEET.., eh.., Lu.?

    • bryanbrian

      Nonsense.

    • markotres

      Sobrang katalino mo!!!!.Nakakahanga ka..

  • tra6Gpeche

    The dead Dictator Marcos still has money in Switzerland banks? And his family is shamelessly saying that the family did not steal from the Filipino people? Incredible!

    • Prangka

      Marcos is only the tip of the Iceberg. Look around you and better read the SALN especially those assets that jumps incredibly high.

      • tra6Gpeche

        Somehow, I sense 100% truth in what you are saying. No wonder, most Filipinos are super eager to get out of the country!

      • lucidlynx

        Wrong! Majority of Filipinos don’t want to go abroad. Unless you’ve got the statistics and/or surveys to prove me wrong, I will stick to what I’ve written.

      • Prangka

        If majority of the Filipinos can migrate along with their families, yes I agree who wouldn’t want to grab such opportunity? In my family alone 3 has already settled in US and in Europe. And just how many of those I’ve known did the same thing. Malas mo naman at napakalayo mo sa reality pra sabihin mo Majority ay ayaw sa abroad. Again, let me repeat, kung mabibigyan ng opportunity sinong ayaw umalis ng Pilipinas?

      • mamer2

        ARE YOU Saying that the Philippines is being “Run Like Hell”..?
        ARE YOU Really saying that the Ph have been “run like hell”..?
        You Know what….?.?.?
        I agree with you.
        (but off-course, P’noy is trying his best to do good.)

      • Prangka

        1 term of good presidency can’t undo more than 20 years of negligence and corruption. Look at our history: Marcos destroyed Philippines 20 years in the making. Cory try to rebuild it but in the middle of her term Honasan destroyed that initiative. Ramos took over and was making headway. But Erap destroyed it again. Gloria served 9 years putting all her mastery on economics but was scorned for massive electroal fraud and corruption. Now it’s Pnoy time again making headway. But with threat of Binay lingering around the corner whose massive wealth can’t be explained by legitimate acquisition. You can be sure Philippine is yet on another cycle of built and destroy. Kawawang Pilipinas.

      • tra6Gpeche

        That is what the late President Manuel L. Quezon was thinking about….run like hell. I agree, though, that Mr. Aquino is trying his best to make it, at least, a “purgatory.”

      • tra6Gpeche

        Kabayan, either you are blind or in state of denial. Why would an educated Filipino woman be working as a miserable domestic helper or “katulong” in the Middle East, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Italy, England, etcetera? Those are my statistics.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003650050488 Albay Islands

      AND yet, BINOTO pa nang mga FILIPINO and MAG-NA-NA-KAW na MARCOSes…

      • mamer2

        HINDI LAHAT nang Filipino ang bomoto sa m-n-n-kaw na Marcos-es.
        Karamihan lang nang mga ilocano. Pero hindi lahat.

      • tra6Gpeche

        You have to think twice, kabayan. Bongbong Marcos was voted nationally as a Senator. As for Imelda and her daughter, you are right.

      • mamer2

        BBong Marcos was Voted-IN, nationally, yes.
        But did not get the most number of votes. Nor in the top 5.

        He got less than 40% of the votes cast
        In other words…, still not majority.

      • tra6Gpeche

        Getting 40% votes is irrelevant. Bongbong Marcos is now a Senator. That’s all it matters. Mr. Aquino did not get the majority of the votes but he is now the Philippine President. He got the highest votes among the Presidential candidates. There is no run-off in the Philippines.

      • mamer2

        What I wish to say in my previous comment that if BongBong is thinking of running for president in 2016, he’d better think a thousand times.
        He wasn’t ranked no.1 in that batch of senators-elect. He was only 7th.
        And he, ONLY, got LESS than 40% of the votes, in a multi-voting category.
        No question about his being voted, nationally, as senator. Even Nancy, with experience very near to “nil”, got voted in with more votes and a better ranking than Marcos,Jr.

      • tra6Gpeche

        We probably have the same wish…..that Bongbong will not be a President. Unless, of course if Ilocos Norte becomes a separate republic…Republic of North Ilocandia

      • mamer2

        Or a president of his own company…, ONLY.
        May our wish come to pass.

  • FORTHE GOOD

    Lord, sana maibalik sa kaban ng bayan ang mga ninakaw ng diktadurya.

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