Returning stolen funds requires conviction and proof, says Swiss ambassador

The Swiss ambassador in Cairo said on Sunday that returning looted funds from Swiss banks requires proof that the Egyptian officials stole those funds from the people and a criminal conviction.

Speaking at a public lecture at Ain Shams University on Sunday, Dominique Vorjlr said that the Swiss explained to Egypt all the judicial procedures required in order to claim the money kept by former regime officials in Swiss banks.

Less than a week after the removal of Hosni Mubarak last year, Egypt asked Switzerland for assistance in recovering assets belonging to officials from the ousted government.

Switzerland, the world's biggest offshore banking center, ordered a freeze on assets that may belong to Hosni Mubarak shortly after he stepped down as president.

Vorjlr also said that democratization and stability in Egypt help improve economic conditions, but democratization is a long process that needs patience.

“Democracy does not only mean the application of laws, but also the elimination of poverty and the provision of quality education for citizens,” he said.

The Swiss ambassador in his lecture shed the light on issues concerning Islam in Switzerland.

On banning the building of minarets in Switzerland, Vorjlr said the Swiss people decided on this in a referendum. “Parliament and the government cannot change the will of the people even if they differ with them,” he said.

He added that Switzerland provides all forms of assistance to refugees and financial support for legal immigrants until they return to their country, due to the high unemployment rate in Switzerland.

“More than 20 percent of the population is immigrants and foreign labor is 25 percent,” he said.

He said immigrants like to go to Switzerland for democracy, freedom and the multicultural nature of the country. “We speak German, French, Italian and Romansh,” he said, adding that Switzerland is a haven for immigrants to achieve their dreams.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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