Further requests for judicial assistance in the Milosevic case

Some 9 million francs blocked so far by way of precaution

Press Release, FOJ, 20.12.2001

Berne, 20.12.2001. At the request of the Yugoslav authorities, the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) has had further accounts of representatives of the former regime blocked. They are suspected of having enriched themselves unlawfully while in public office. On the strength of the first request for judicial assistance, some 9 million Swiss francs have already been blocked.

In the context of a criminal proceeding against the former president Slobodan Milosevic and other representatives of the former regime, the Yugoslav authorities submitted another two requests for judicial assistance to Switzerland in early November. Their charges against the accused include abuse of public authority and bribery. They requested Switzerland to block bank accounts and collect the relevant documents. The FOJ has acceded to the request and has had the five accused persons' accounts blocked for the duration of the judicial assistance procedure, and has ordered the collection of the bank documents. The order concerns one bank each in Zurich, Geneva, and Lugano. For the time being, the banks have not yet provided the FOJ with any information regarding the amounts of the blocked assets.

On the basis of the first request for judicial assistance of late August, the FOJ had had the accounts of four accused persons (of whom two are again the object of the new request) with two banks in Zurich and one bank in Lugano blocked by way of precaution. It had called on the Yugoslav authorities to amend their incomplete request for judicial assistance within three months. In particular, the requests must reveal the connections between the offences perpetrated in Yugoslavia and the assets that have been blocked in Switzerland. Although this amendment has not been received yet, the FOJ has extended the precautionary blockage by three months. Yesterday, representatives of the FOJ discussed questions in connection with the current judicial assistance procedure with a Yugoslav delegation in Berne.

No Milosevic assets in Switzerland

On the basis of a request for judicial assistance by The Hague War Crimes Tribunal, Switzerland ordered the blockage of any assets owned in Switzerland by Slobodan Milosevic and of another four persons charged with war crimes as early as 1999. This blockage remains in force: any individuals and entities who hold or manage such assets must report this to the FOJ without delay. To date, the FOJ has not received any such reports.

For the complete documentation see the pages in German, French or Italian

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