Swiss court lifts block on Australian drug dealer's USD 500,000 bank account

27th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

A convicted Australian drug dealer can now reclaim the USD 500,000 he deposited in a Swiss bank more than 20 years ago.

27 May 2008

LAUSANNE - A convicted Australian drug dealer is entitled to reclaim USD 500,000 (CHF 513,000) he deposited in a Swiss bank account more than 20 years ago, the supreme court said Monday.

In its ruling, the Swiss Federal Tribunal did not identify the man by name but said he was "one of the most important drug dealers in Australia" and said he had been "linked to organised crime since the 1970s".

The Lausanne-based court ordered the money unblocked because it was paid into a Citibank account in 1987, seven years before the man tried to smuggle 15 metric tons of cannabis resin from Pakistan to Australia.

Swiss authorities seized the funds in 2003 after learning that the man had received a nine-year prison sentence in 1996 for drug trafficking. He was released in 2002.

The Lausanne-based court said the timing of events meant that the money could not have come from the drug smuggling for which the man was convicted. It also noted that neither the smuggler nor the criminal association he belonged to had ever been active in Switzerland.

[AP / Expatica]

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