Duvalier assets to be forfeited on the basis of new Restitution Act

Bern, Press release, 02.02.2011

The new Federal Act on the Restitution of Assets of Politically Exposed Persons obtained by Unlawful Means (RIAA) came into force on 1 February 2011. Today the Federal Council decided to ask the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) to initiate proceedings for the forfeiture of the Duvalier funds frozen in Switzerland. The Federal Administrative Court (FAC) will be in charge of these proceedings.

The case involving Jean-Claude Duvalier began in 1986 when the authorities of Haiti made an initial request for judicial assistance, asking Switzerland to freeze the assets of the former President. Since then the funds in question have been permanently frozen, either in the framework of mutual assistance in criminal matters or by decision of the Federal Council on the basis of the Constitution.

Since 1 February 2011 the Duvalier assets have been frozen on the basis of the new RIAA. This Act requires the FDF to initiate forfeiture proceedings before the Administrative Court within one year, failing which the assets will cease to be frozen.  

As part of its constant efforts to find a solution that would make it possible to return the Duvalier money to the people of Haiti, the Federal Council has taken advantage of the new powers given to it by the new RIAA to bring the case before the Court. Representatives of the Duvalier family will have the opportunity to demonstrate the legal origin of the frozen funds in the framework of the forfeiture procedure now under way.  

FDFA Information: Tel. 0041 31 322 31 53

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47
E-Mail: info@eda.admin.ch


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Federal Department of Finance