Number of successful asylum seekers down as loopholes closed

BERN, SWITZERLAND – The number of requests for asylum in Switzerland fell by 16 percent in February, compared to January (and by 20 percent compared to February 2012), and the number of asylum seekers whose files were handed over to the country where they entered the Schengen area rose by 10 percent in February. The […]

Tunisian opposition leader shot, riots in streets

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid was shot to death outside his home in Tunis Wednesday and thousands of protesters took to the streets throughout the country. Belaid was a leader of the moderate Popular Front coalition of 12 political parties. The prime minister, a leader of the Islamist party Ennahda, in a […]

Nearly CHF1b of Arab spring dictators’ funds blocked by Swiss

Returning assets to the people is a priority, says ambassador GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – More than CHF1 billion in assets linked to the regimes of dictators who fell during the Arab spring, as well as Syrian assets, have been frozen and it’s a priority for these to be returned to the countries, Ambassador Valentin Zellweger, who […]

Tunisia pardons 1,300 prisioners

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – In Tunisia 1,300 prisoners were pardoned on 25 July to mark the country’s 55th anniversary since the proclamation of independence. President Moncef Marzouki pardon includes minors, schoolchildren and university students. The president took the decision after convening a meeting with Justice Minister Noureddin B’Hiri and after comments that a new revolution could […]

Ben Ali Swiss assets may be returned to Tunisia, says lawyer

Deposed Tunisian leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali - Photo Gobierno de Argentina

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – A lawyer for the deposed Tunisian leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali said Monday 16 July that Tunisia is welcome to any of the former president’s assets it may find in Switzerland. Akram Azouri, a Lebanese lawyer to Ben Ali said in a letter sent to the Swiss ambassador in Lebanon that the Swiss […]

Swiss, Tunisians talks to return Ben Ali blocked funds show “first results”

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – “First results”, an exchange of proof in the case of illicit funds linked to former Tunisian President Ben Ali and his entourage, were achieved this week, the Swiss Foreign Affairs Department says. A Tunisian government delegation met with authorities from the foreign affairs office’s illicit funds unit, the Justice Department, the federal […]

More bribery behind sharp increase in suspect money flows

MROS, Switzerland, growth in suspicious financial activity reporting in 10 years

Arab spring played a role Numbers are impressive but it’s the criminal tales that are gripping BERN, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland saw a 40 percent increase in 2011 in the number of suspicious activities reports (Sars) to MROS, the Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland, the federal office shows in its annual report published Monday 14 May. […]

Arab spring, embezzled funds meeting calls for greater coordination

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – The first international meeting with experts from 15 countries to focus on the Arab spring and returning embezzled funds to Arab nations ended Tuesday afternoon 24 January in Lausanne with a call for greater coordination. The meeting was the sixth in the Lausanne Process, launced in 2001 by Switzerland’s Foreign Affairs Department […]

Tunisia votes in historical elections, Islamists lead

TUNISIA – Tunisia’s first Election Day in the post-Bin Ali period passed without any incidents of poll-related violence and only a handful of reports of illicit campaigning, according to initial assessments by local and international election observers. Tunisia’s main Islamist party claimed Monday to have taken the biggest block of votes in historic free elections, […]

HSBC Geneva’s relations with Ben Ali clan raise questions about Swiss vigilance

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – TSR, Swiss public television, revealed Monday that the Geneva branch of HSBC has had CHF11 million in assets of deposed Tunisian dictator Ben Ali’s clan, information the bank has not publicly confirmed. The accounts were reportedly opened by Belhassen Tribelsi, Ben Ali’s wife’s brother. He is now on the run, reportedly in […]