09:57 12.12.2016

Switzerland extends freezing of assets of former Ukrainian officials for a year

2 min read
Switzerland extends freezing of assets of former Ukrainian officials for a year

The Federal Council of Switzerland has decided to extend by one year the freezing of all the assets in Switzerland of ousted presidents of Tunisia, Egypt and Ukraine (Viktor Yanukovych) as well as of politically exposed members of their entourages and other persons closely associated with them.

The Federal Council made this decision on Friday, December 9.

"The aim of this decision is to give more time for the criminal investigations under way and to support judicial cooperation with the countries concerned. It also takes into account the political changes taking place in these countries," the Federal Council of Switzerland said in a statement posted on its official website.

In the case of Ukraine the situation is different because the initial freeze took place more recently, the report says. "It was ordered by the Federal Council in 2014 for a period of three years, which means that it expires for the first time in February 2017. Assets amounting to approximately CHF 70 million are involved," the Federal Council said.

"Criminal investigations have also been initiated against a large number of individuals targeted by this measure and several requests for mutual legal assistance have been addressed to Switzerland. Although these requests have resulted in significant interim findings, more time is needed to enable the ongoing criminal proceedings to be concluded. The freeze imposed by the Federal Council therefore fulfills its purpose in every sense, which suggests that it will be prolonged for a further year," the statement reads.

Shortly before the three freezes expire at the beginning of 2018, the Federal Council will re-evaluate the situation in each of the three countries concerned. It will then decide whether the freezes on these assets will be prolonged on the basis of the progress made in the respective legal proceedings.

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