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Deep freeze Swiss hold on to Egyptian and Tunisian funds

Not frozen but well-preserved: the mummy of King Tut's gran. Instability in Egypt means tough times for its museums


The Swiss government has decided to freeze CHF760 million ($858 million) in Egyptian and Tunisian assets for another three years. The aim is to provide more time for criminal investigations in Tunisia and Egypt as to the origin of the assets.

In a statement made on Wednesday, the cabinet said that the Swiss government was “taking account of the political transition in the two countries”. The decision applies to the CHF700 million held by former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his aides, as well as CH60 million that were linked to Tunisia’s former autocrat, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

The cabinet added that over the past three years, there has been close cooperation between Swiss authorities and their counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt – which has resulted in “significant progress” towards determining the origin of the assets so that the money can be returned.

Under Swiss law, other nations are generally required to provide information about possible criminal wrongdoing to start unblocking any frozen assets. The money is usually locked up for three years, and during that time governments must meet Swiss requirements such as providing information of any financial crimes that could be prosecuted on Swiss soil. and agencies

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