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PORTSIDE  February 2011, Week 1

PORTSIDE February 2011, Week 1

Subject:

Switzerland Blocks Funds of Haiti Ex-Leader Duvalier

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 1 Feb 2011 21:54:59 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (71 lines)

Switzerland blocks funds of Haiti ex-leader Duvalier

BBC News
February 1, 2011 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12332329

Switzerland has blocked funds held in Swiss bank accounts by
Haiti's former leader Jean-Claude Duvalier under a law that
has just come into force.

The funds of some $6m (£3.7m) were frozen in 1986 after Mr
Duvalier was ousted as Haitian president.

Last year, a Swiss court ruled that the money be returned to
him but the Bern government sought a new law covering the
restitution of the money to Haiti.

Mr Duvalier last month made a surprise return to Haiti from
exile.

He has been charged with theft and misappropriation of funds
during his 1971-1986 rule and is also being sued for torture
and other crimes against humanity.

Mr Duvalier, also known as "Baby Doc", has denied any
wrongdoing.

The new law took effect in Switzerland on 1 February,
governing the "freezing, forfeiture and restitution" of
assets.

It allows the Swiss authorities to confiscate funds and
return them to the country of origin, even if the nation in
question cannot seek restitution through the courts.

The new legislation was drawn up with the case of Mr Duvalier
partly in mind.

In March 2010, a Swiss court ordered that the money must be
returned to him.

However, the government blocked the release of the funds in
order to formulate a better law to deal with the assets of
what it termed "criminal origin".

If Mr Duvalier wants the accounts to be unblocked, he will
have to show that the money was earned legitimately. If he
cannot, the money will be returned to Haiti.

Mr Duvalier has said that he returned to Haiti after years in
exile in France in order to help the country rebuild after
last year's devastating earthquake.

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