Switzerland drafts bill to return smuggled assets

Kamel Guirguis, head of the Public Prosecution’s international cooperation office, has said that Swiss authorities have finalized the first draft law facilitating procedures to restore smuggled assets back to their original owners.

Guirguis added Saturday that the draft law was not issued for specific countries, but that its mechanisms would allow Egypt to restore assets smuggled abroad during Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

He also said that Swiss authorities expressed their willingness to cooperate with Egyptian authorities during talks held between Swiss officials and members of the Public Prosecution, saying that this would open a new chapter of legal and judicial cooperation in recovering Egyptian funds from the country.

The amount of money smuggled to Switzerland by former regime figures is estimated at more than 700 million francs.

Under the new law, the Swiss government would be obligated to return the funds without going through extensive legal and administrative procedures. A similar law was passed in Switzerland in February 2011, under which Haiti was able to recover funds smuggled abroad by former President Francois Duvalier after they were proven to have been obtained through corruption.

Edited translation from MENA

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