Federal Council extends freeze on assets relating to Tunisia and Ukraine
Bern, 13.12.2019 - On 13 December 2019, the Federal Council decided to extend for one year the preventive freeze on the assets relating to Tunisia and Ukraine. The purpose of this decision is to support the judicial cooperation between Switzerland and these two states.
At the beginning of 2011, the Federal Council reacted immediately to the Arab uprisings by ordering, as a preventive measure, a freeze on the assets of ousted President Ben Ali and his entourage (approximately CHF 60 million). Similarly, in February 2014, in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, the Federal Council froze the assets of ousted President Yanukovych and his entourage (approximately CHF 70 million). The freezes on the assets relating to Tunisia and Ukraine will expire in January and February 2020 respectively.
The Foreign Illicit Assets Act (FIAA; SR 196.1), which came into force on 1 July 2016, governs the duration of freezes and annual extensions to them. An extension is possible if the concerned states have expressed their willingness to cooperate within the framework of mutual legal assistance proceedings. Several criminal proceedings against the main individuals concerned and various mutual legal assistance proceedings between Switzerland and the involved countries are ongoing. With regard to potential restitutions, Court rulings on the illicit origin of the assets have yet to be rendered in the concerned countries. It was therefore decided to extend the preventive asset freezes for one year.
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