Swiss court blocks help to France in terror probe

4th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Aug 4 (AFP) - Switzerland's supreme court on Thursday ordered the country's justice authorities to halt cooperation with a French probe linked to a half brother of Osama bin Laden, Yeslam Binladin.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Aug 4 (AFP) - Switzerland's supreme court on Thursday ordered the country's justice authorities to halt cooperation with a French probe linked to a half brother of Osama bin Laden, Yeslam Binladin.

The Federal Tribunal upheld an appeal by two companies cited in the probe which had sought to block the handover of bank account details to French judge Renaud van Ruymbeke.

Van Rumbeyke first opened an investigation in December 2001 into allegations that Binladin's companies handled terrorist funds.

The companies, which were not named in the tribunal's ruling, had protested that they had not received an adequate explanation of why the French investigator wanted the details.

Swiss prosecutors had declined to give the companies the information, saying they wanted to protect the private interests of Saudi-born Binladin, a naturalised Swiss citizen who is based in Geneva.

In its ruling, the Federal Tribunal said this was not sufficient reason for withholding the information, and that the companies should be granted access to their files.

Meanwhile, Swiss prosecutors should freeze their cooperation with the French investigation, the court said.

Binladin was questioned by Van Ruymbeke in September 2004 as a witness, but has never been charged.

He has consistently denied any involvement in money laundering, and has condemned his half brother's terrorist acts.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article