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  1. Wealth
May 23, 2013

STEP: Switzerland introducing law to confiscate dictators’ funds

By Spear's

The proposed law’s principal targets are secret bank deposits operated by ‘foreign dictators and potentates,’ says the Swiss Federal Council

Switzerland’s government has published a draft bill introducing new powers to freeze and confiscate funds stolen by politically exposed persons (PEPs) and restore them to their home countries.

The proposed law’s principal targets are secret bank deposits operated by ‘foreign dictators and potentates,’ says the Swiss Federal Council. It will also allow the Swiss foreign ministry to provide banking information to other states trying to file a request for legal assistance.

Read more: Switzerland tops banking secrecy table

The problems of assets stolen by PEPs and deposited in Switzerland have been attracting increasing attention over the last quarter-century, the Swiss government admits. Previously Swiss authorities have had to rely on various constitutional powers to identify, confiscate and return stolen assets.

This has had some successes: the Swiss claim to have returned CHF1.7 billion (USD1.8 billion) in dictator-embezzled funds to their countries of origin in the last 25 years. The PEPs responsible for these thefts included Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Sani Abacha of Nigeria and Peru’s Vladimiro Montesinos.

Read more on Switzerland from Spear’s

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