Haiti’s ‘Baby Doc’ appeals in legal battle over millions

The family of Haitian ex-dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has appealed against the Swiss government’s decision to keep a 24 year-old freeze on his assets, a court said Wednesday. The move marked the latest round of Duvaliers’ legal battle to stop some 4.6 million dollars of allegedly embezzled funds held by their foundation in Swiss bank accounts being returned to the impoverished Caribbean island.

A spokesman for Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Tribunal, Andrea Arcidiacono, said that the Liechtenstein-based Brouilly Foundation lodged the appeal on March 4. “The appeal was lodged with the Federal Administrative Tribunal against the Federal Council’s (government) decision on February 3,” he told AFP. The Swiss government decided last month to keep the Duvalier accounts frozen after its lengthy bid to return part of the 5.7 million dollars in Switzerland to Haiti was blocked by the supreme court. It is trying to speed legislation through parliament to ease the confiscation and restitution of assets plundered by corrupt or greedy foreign politicians, partly on the supreme court judges’ advice.

Duvalier and his followers were accused of plundering hundreds of millions of dollars of state funds during their 15-year reign until “Baby Doc” was ousted in 1986. Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said last month that Haiti should be the first to benefit from the new draft law.

For the original report go to http://news.ph.msn.com/business/article.aspx?cp-documentid=3968550

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