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Posted Friday, June 15, 2007
Swiss government extends freeze on Baby Doc accounts

Following legal moves by a Miami-based law firm representing two victims of the Duvalier dictatorship, and a spirited lobbying campaign by Haitian, Latin American and European NGOs over recent weeks

The Swiss government announced last week that it had extended a freeze on Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier's Swiss bank accounts for a further three months. Release

The money, 7.6m Swiss francs (3.1m/US$6.2m), has been frozen for the past five years as the Haitian government has argued for its release, but was due to be surrendered to Duvalier on 3 June.

Now the accounts will remain blocked for a further three months from 3 June, according to Swiss government spokesman Oswald Sigg. He stated that the Swiss foreign ministry would now try to resolve the situation with the Duvalier family and representatives of Haiti's government. It was still the Swiss government's aim to find a solution in favour of the Haitian people, added the spokesman.

The UK based Haiti Support Group has written to Haiti's minister of foreign affairs calling on him to seize the opportunity provided by the extended freeze and quickly come up with the documentation proving that Duvalier's money was accumulated as a result of criminal and corrupt actions during the dictatorship. On submission of this proof, the Swiss government will be obliged to hand over some - perhaps all - of the money to the Haitian authorities.

Published: 15 June 2007 Issue: 1273 GV Media Group Limited

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