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Switzerland Blocks $1.1 Billion in Assets Tied to Arab Dictators

Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Switzerland is blocking about 1 billion Swiss francs ($1.1 billion) of illegal assets tied to the former leaderships of four countries at the center of the Arab Spring unrest.

The Swiss are cooperating with authorities in Egypt and Tunisia to speed the return of the funds, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs said in an e-mail from Bern today.

“Politically exposed persons, such as head of states and high public officials, who illegally enrich themselves through state funds, deprive their state of capital and hinder the development of their country,” according to the statement.

Switzerland is talking to Egypt about 700 million francs that was hidden by former President Hosni Mubarak and his aides, the ministry said.

The Swiss government has also seized money tied to Syria, where rebels are fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, and to Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer M. Freedman in Geneva at jfreedman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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