Federal Council orders freeze of any assets held by former Tunisian President Ben Ali in Switzerland
Bern, 19.01.2011 - At its meeting today, the Federal Council decided to freeze with immediate effect any assets that might be held in Switzerland by the former Tunisian President and his associates. By doing so, the Federal Council wishes to avoid any and all risk of the embezzlement of property belonging to the Tunisian state. The Tunisian authorities now have the opportunity to request legal assistance in criminal matters from Switzerland.
Violence and widespread unrest in Tunisia cost many human lives and toppled the government. Former President Ben Ali fled the country. The former speaker of the Chamber of Deputies has been sworn in as interim head of state.
In light of the latest developments, the Federal Council wishes to institute all measures necessary to avoid any risk of the embezzlement of state assets. The Tunisian authorities are to be given the opportunity to submit a request for legal assistance in criminal matters to Switzerland. With today's decree, the Federal Council has decided to freeze with immediate effect any assets that might be held in Switzerland by the former Tunisian president and his associates. The Council has also banned the sale and any disposal of real estate belonging to these individuals.
The corresponding decree enters into force immediately today. By acting swiftly, the Federal Council wishes to prevent any assets being transferred abroad from Switzerland, thus evading the Federal Council's ruling. The decree is valid for three years.
For further information:
Valentin Zellweger, Director of the Directorate for International Law,
+41 31 322 30 61
Address for enquiries
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs