The Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office has been asked to investigate claims of money laundering by former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo.
The prosecutor’s office said it had begun an investigation into “persons unknown” after it received an official complaint on behalf of the people of the Ivory Coast.
“A criminal complaint of money laundering and criminal organisation has been filed against Mr Gbagbo, his wife and a series of former public officials and Ivorian ministers,” said Bruno de Preux, a Geneva lawyer retained by the new Ivorian government to represent its interests in Switzerland.
Switzerland froze an estimated SFr70 million ($80 million) in assets belonging to Gbagbo and his entourage in January. De Preux said the complaint had been lodged with the aim of recovering the money.
But a spokesman for the foreign ministry said on Monday that the Swiss had still to receive an official request to unblock the money from the Ivorian government. Such a request must include evidence that the assets were obtained illegally.
swissinfo.ch and agencies