Ex-Dictator Calls for Frozen Assets to Rebuild Haiti

Added by on February 3, 2011

Haitian ex-dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has called on Switzerland to release assets frozen under the “Duvalier law” and direct them to the rebuilding of Haiti.

Duvalier said the funds in questions are not his but belong to a foundation: “In 25 years (in exile), I have never had any accounts frozen, in Switzerland or anywhere,” he told Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.

The new legislation, taking effect on Tuesday, aims to make easier the restitution of assets stolen by corrupt leaders to their, often impoverished, home countries. Named the “Duvalier law” it was in part prompted by a 25-year legal battle over some $5.7 million of allegedly fraudulent funds that had taken place between the Duvalier family and Swiss authorities.

The money, that according to Haitian authorities is part of more than $100 million stolen from charities and social funds by the younger Duvalier regime, has been frozen in a Swiss bank since the ousting of Duvalier.

Within 48 hours following his return to Haiti last month, prosecutors charged Duvalier with numerous cases of fraud, as well as of alleged human rights violations and torture.

Duvalier was released after being charged.

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