Net widens in Arab Spring probes

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has widened legal proceedings involving frozen assets of the deposed leaders of Tunisia and Egypt to include organised crime.

This content was published on January 23, 2012 - 15:57 and agencies

The investigations are focusing on both money laundering and whether transfers of these assets were conducted as part of organised criminal activities.

“We are conducting investigations against associates of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak,” said office spokeswoman Jeannette Balmer, confirming earlier media reports.

She refused to give any names, but said that no Swiss were among those being investigated.

Besides its own investigation, the prosecutor’s office is also looking at two judicial assistance requests concerning assets from Tunisia and Egypt that were passed on by the Federal Justice Office.

According to justice office spokesman Folco Galli, no requests for judicial assistance have been filed by the Libyan authorities.

Switzerland has already returned assets stashed by former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi in Swiss banks after sanctions were lifted against Libya’s central bank and its overseas banking institute.

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