Milosevic case: accounts blocked by way of precaution.

Yugoslav request for judicial assistance must be completed.

Press Release, FOJ, 24.09.2001

In the Milosevic case, the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) has had accounts of four representatives of the former regime blocked by way of precaution. The Yugoslav authorities suspect them of unlawful enrichment while in public office. So far, the FOJ has not received any feedback from the banks about the amounts of the blocked assets.

In the context of a criminal proceeding against the former president Slobodan Milosevic and other representatives of the former regime, the Yugoslav authorities submitted a request for judicial assistance to Switzerland in late August. They have charged the accused with unlawful enrichment while in public office. They have requested Switzerland to block bank accounts by way of precaution and to collect the relevant documents.

The FOJ ordered the blockage of four accused persons' accounts; this concerns two banks in the Canton of Zurich and one bank in the Canton of Ticino. The FOJ will call on the Yugoslav authorities to complete their request for judicial assistance within three months. The additions thus requested are supposed to reveal, in particular, the connections between offences perpetrated in Yugoslavia and the assets that have been blocked in Switzerland.

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.

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