Switzerland and the World Bank sign agreement on the restitution of Kazakh assets

Bern, Press release, 21.12.2012

Switzerland is using a World Bank trust fund as a means to return USD 48 million in assets to Kazakhstan. These funds are meant to benefit the people of Kazakhstan. The Agreement was signed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the World Bank on 20 December 2012. This restitution is in keeping with Switzerland’s longstanding policy in combating the abuse of its financial centre.

This restitution of Kazakh assets takes place within the context of a criminal investigation initiated by the Geneva judicial authorities on suspicions of money laundering. In 2011, the proceedings led to the confiscation of the assets that are now to be returned. The parties involved in the proceedings reached an agreement to use the some USD 48 million of funds confiscated in Switzerland for projects to the benefit of the Kazakh population. The money will be earmarked to finance projects in Kazakhstan in the domains of youth policy and energy efficiency.

For over 20 years, Switzerland has been engaged in efforts to prevent its financial centre from being misused as a safe haven for illicitly acquired assets. With respect to the restitution of money stolen by politically exposed persons (PEPs) to the countries of origin, Switzerland plays a leading role on the international scene. According to World Bank estimates, over the last fifteen years, some USD 5 billion have been returned to the countries of origin worldwide. With a total of funds exceeding USD 1.7 billion, Switzerland contributed to a good third of this amount, more than any other financial centre. Switzerland is committed to ensuring that the monies returned be used as a concrete contribution to improving the living conditions of the population in the countries concerned. 


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