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Government drafts law to return dictator cash

Switzerland's government has said it is drafting legislation that would make it easier to return money stolen by deposed dictators and deposited in Swiss banks.

The foreign ministry said the law would allow countries to retrieve so-called potentate money from accounts even if they were unable to conduct legal proceedings against a former dictator.

In late November, the government asked the Democratic Republic of Congo for help in resolving whether to release frozen assets belonging to former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

The assets are set to be released from December 15 and returned to Mobutu's family unless their origin can be legally determined.

In July, the justice ministry said it would authorise the return to Haiti of unclaimed funds linked to that country's former dictator, Jean-Claude Duvalier.

The failure of some countries to prove that funds in Switzerland were of criminal origin has been an obstacle for their return.


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