Legal assistance dossiers in frigate affair handed over

Over CHF 900 million remains frozen in Switzerland

Press Release, FOJ, 08.11.2005

Geneva / Bern, 8 November 2005. Today, Switzerland handed over legal assistance dossiers on the frigate affair to representatives of the French, Taiwanese and Liechtenstein criminal prosecution authorities. The dossiers each comprise around 50 standard government files. They are to be used in evidence in the criminal proceedings that the above countries have instituted on the grounds of corruption and other offences connected with the sale of French frigates to Taiwan.

By conducting enquiries and handing over the legal assistance dossiers, Switzerland has fufilled its responsibility to help its international counterparts combat crime. It has done its part in enabling the competent foreign criminal prosecution authorities to investigate this case of corruption and to bring those responsible to justice. The assets of over CHF 900 million that were frozen by the federal examining magistrate in connection with the legal action in Switzerland and the international legal assistance proceedings remain blocked in Switzerland. In a second step, the foreign authorities may apply to Switzerland to release the frozen assets.

The Federal Council removed the last obstacle to the handover of the legal assistance dossiers when it rejected an administrative appeal on 27 October 2005. In its ruling, it stated that the grant of legal assistance in the frigate affair did not impair any major Swiss interest. Indeed, the Federal Council continued, it was in Switzerland's every interest to ensure that its financial industry is not abused for criminal purposes, and that it helps to improve the transparency of commercial transactions in major financial centres.

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

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