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Swiss admit to stalling on Milosevic accounts list

The EU expanded its list of suspect accounts linked to Milosevic three months ago


The Swiss authorities have admitted they took several months before expanding the list of accounts linked to the former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, to be blocked.

The state secretariat for economic affairs on Thursday confirmed a report that appeared in the weekly publication, "Weltwoche", claiming such a delay occurred.

However, the authorities said their hesitation did not affect the eventual freezing of assets.

The increase in the list of names targeted - from 300 to 600 - was only completed on Tuesday, despite the fact that the European Union expanded its list three months ago.

At the time, the state secretariat indicated that the Swiss government would only decide whether to fall into line with the EU in the autumn.

But the state secretariat admitted it would have been more acceptable to publish the list immediately.

Frozen Swiss bank accounts held by associates of Milosevic hold more than SFr100 million ($57 million), according to the head of the secretariat, Othmar Wyss.

Some 30 people close to Milosevic had their bank accounts frozen earlier this month, with the authorities indicating it was possible the ex-president's wife, Mirjana Markovic, had accounts in Switzerland.

The EU is currently working on significantly reducing the number of suspect account holders on its list. Analysts say it is likely to be whittled down to only the people closest to Milosevic.

swissinfo with agencies

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