Posted by: John Adams | February 12, 2009

Swiss to Return Stolen Money to Haiti

GENEVA, (AFP) – Switzerland will return assets of former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier to Haiti for use on development projects, Swiss authorities announced Thursday.

However, the Duvalier family still has 30 days to lodge a final appeal to the Swiss supreme court to try to stop the return of the 7.0 million Swiss francs (4.6 million euros, 6.0 million dollars), the Federal Office of Justice said in a statement.

The justice office ruled that “the lawful origin of the assets, worth some 7.0 million Swiss francs, could not be proven by the account holders,” rejecting more than 20 years of legal challenges by the Duvalier family.

Their money has been frozen in Swiss bank accounts since it was first blocked at the request of Haiti’s government after Duvalier was toppled in 1986.

Duvalier and his followers were accused of plundering hundreds of millions of dollars of state funds during their 15 year reign.

The Swiss justice office ruled that the money must be used for “social or humanitarian projects to benefit the Haitian population.”

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