Swiss government orders freeze on any Ben Ali funds

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The Swiss government on Wednesday ordered a freeze on any funds that might be held by Tunisia's ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Switzerland, Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said.

The move announced after a regular cabinet meeting followed domestic political pressure as well as legal action by Tunisian exiles in Switzerland this week.

The Federal Council "decided to block with immediate effect any possible funds in Switzerland of former president Ben Ali," Calmy Rey, who also serves as the country's president, said at a press conference.

She said the move was aimed at both preventing any assets that might be in Switzerland from being withdrawn and ensuring that the country's new authorities would be able to retrieve illictly taken public assets.

© 2011 AFP

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