Paradis fiscaux et judiciaires

Swiss will return Mobutu millions

mardi 17 juillet 2007

Swiss will return Mobutu millions

Swiss authorities say they are ready to return millions of dollars frozen in accounts held by Mobutu Sese Seko, the former Congolese leader.

Swiss Confederation President Micheline Calmy-Rey said her government is holding $6.6m in Mr Mobutu’s accounts.

But this is far less than the billions of dollars the DR Congo government had believed was stashed away.

The Swiss authorities froze bank accounts in 1997 belonging to President Mobutu soon after he was ousted.

He died in exile not long after rebels led by President Joseph Kabila’s father, Laurent, had taken over the country.

"We discussed the question of Mobutu’s funds and my government is prepared to restore the money to the DR Congo as soon as possible," Ms Rey told reporters in the DR Congo capital, Kinshasa, after talks with Mr Kabila.

The BBC’s Lubunga By’aombe in Kinshasa says the newly elected government’s interest has waned after establishing it was less than the amount they had hoped for.

Initial reports had indicated that the late dictator had stashed billions of dollars embezzled from the government treasury in Swiss accounts.

In 2001, items auctioned from his luxurious villa in Switzerland netted $100,000.

The late Congolese leader’s son, Nzanga Mobutu, is the agriculture minister in President Kabila’s government.

In the past, Switzerland has come under criticism for its role as a money-laundering centre, prompting the government to impose stiffer banking rules.

Two years ago, the Swiss returned some $500m to Nigeria that had been held in accounts owned by the later military leader, General Sani Abacha.

Story from BBC NEWS

Published : 2007/07/17 14:06:21 GMT


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