Federal Council orders freezing of any assets held by Laurent Gbagbo in Switzerland

Bern, Press release, 19.01.2011

Any assets that might be held by the President of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, in Switzerland, are frozen with immediate effect. The decision was taken by the Federal Council at its meeting today. Switzerland's financial centre should not be used as a place of safety for assets that may have been acquired illegally by Gbagbo, who was defeated in Ivory Coast's recent elections.

The political situation in Ivory Coast remains tense. The country still has two governments – that under President Laurent Gbagbo, which holds de facto power in the country, and that under President Alassane Ouattara, which is largely recognized by the international community. Switzerland has also formally recognized Ouattara's election victory.

Today's Federal Council decision effectively freezes any assets that might be held in Switzerland by Laurent Gbabgo and his associates. With this move, the Federal Council is specifically preventing Switzerland's financial centre being used as a place of safety for assets that may have been acquired illegally by defeated president Laurent Gbagbo and his associates. Switzerland will not allow the rightful owners of these assets to be dispossessed within its jurisdiction. The relevant ordinance enters into force today and is valid for three years.

Given the current situation in Ivory Coast, the European Union (EU) has also decided to freeze assets belonging to Laurent Gbagbo and his associates. Certain assets have also been blocked by the USA.

For further information:
Valentin Zellweger, Director of the Directorate for International Law,
+41 31 322 30 61

Further information:

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Address for enquiries:

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