Extension of the asset freeze of the Federal Council in the context of Ukraine, expiration of the asset freeze in the context of Tunisia

Press release, 11.12.2020

At its meeting on 11 December the Federal Council extended by one year the preventive asset freeze relating to Ukraine. The purpose of this decision is to support the judicial cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities. The asset freeze relating to Tunisia will expire in January 2021, as it will reach its statutory maximum duration.

At the beginning of 2011, the Federal Council reacted to the Arab uprisings by ordering, as a preventive measure, a freeze on the assets of ousted Tunisian President Ben Ali and his entourage in the amount of approximately CHF 60 million. Similarly, in February 2014, in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, the Federal Council froze the assets of ousted President Yanukovych and his entourage in the amount of approximately CHF 70 million.

Extension of freeze order relating to Ukraine

In the context of Ukraine, several criminal proceedings against the main individuals concerned are ongoing and progress has been made in the corresponding mutual legal assistance proceedings between Ukraine and Switzerland. With regard to potential restitutions, court rulings on the illicit origin of the assets have yet to be rendered in Ukraine. Against this background, the Federal Council has decided to extend the preventive asset freeze relating to Ukraine until February 2022.

Expiration of freeze order relating to Tunisia

The Federal Council's freeze order relating to Tunisia will expire in January 2021, as it will reach its statutory maximum duration of ten years. The expiration of this freeze order has no effect on the asset freezes imposed by the judicial authorities in connection with pending criminal and mutual legal assistance proceedings.

The Federal Act on the Freezing and the Restitution of Illicit Assets held by Foreign Politically Exposed Persons (FIAA)  governs the duration of freeze orders and the conditions for their extension for an additional year (Art. 6 para. 1). An extension is possible if the state concerned has expressed its willingness to cooperate within the framework of mutual legal assistance proceedings. The maximum duration of such a freeze is limited to ten years. SR 196.1.


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Publisher:

The Federal Council
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs