Switzerland says it is working to return over 750 million Swiss francs (more than $820 million) in frozen assets linked to former dictators of Egypt and Tunisia to the African countries. Valentin Zellweger, the head of the Swiss Foreign Ministry’s international law department said on Tuesday that the government holds some 700 million Swiss francs in assets linked to Egypt’s ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak and his clan, blocked since his ouster in 2011. Switzerland also maintains 60 million Swiss francs in funds from ousted Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Zellweger highlighted that Berne is presently collaborating with the new administrations in the two African nations to return the cash to the countries of origin.In response to a question about the low speed of the restitution of funds, Zellweger said, “It is they who determine the speed of the procedures.” “Switzerland is confronted in Egypt and Tunisia with cases unprecedented in size.” The country holds the accounts of over 45 people close to Ben Ali, while it has frozen the holdings of 32 people linked to Mubarak. Zellweger pointed out that Switzerland stands as the only country that has gone public about the amount of funds it has blocked. Following the January 2011 revolution in Tunisia, Ben Ali fled the country. Also in January 2011, the Egyptian revolution toppled Mubarak and brought an end to his 30-year-long dictatorship. GVN/MR/HSN