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Authorities freeze bank accounts of former African leader

The Federal Police Office has frozen the bank accounts belonging to the ousted president of the Ivory Coast, Henri Konan Bédié, and several other people suspected of corruption.

This content was published on March 10, 2000 - 14:19

The Federal Police Office has frozen the bank accounts belonging to the ousted president of the Ivory Coast, Henri Konan Bédié, and several other people suspected of corruption.

Bédié, who fled the country after being overthrown in a military coup last December, is wanted by the Ivorian government in connection with embezzlement charges, along with some of his family members.

"The Ivory Coast authorities suspect them of illegally enriching themselves while in office," said a Swiss police statement.

It is not yet clear how much money is being held in the frozen accounts. However, the Ivorian authorities estimate that Bédié and his allies managed to take more than SFr50 million with them when they left the country.

Accounts at nine banks in Geneva, Lugano and Zurich had already been blocked by the Geneva prosecutor in January, giving the judicial authorities in Ivory Coast three months to file a formal request for legal assistance to the Swiss police.

The request which is expected to arrive within the next few days, is intended to help uncover links between crimes committed in Ivory Coast and money contained in Swiss bank accounts.

Swissinfo with agencies

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