Transfer of Iran Arms Deal Funds to Swiss Accounts No Violation of Law With AM-US-Iran Rdp Bjt
BERN, Switzerland (AP) _ A transfer of U.S.-Iranian arms deal profits to accounts controlled by Nicaraguan rebels would not have violated Swiss law, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.
The spokesman, Clemens Birrer, said an operation such as that described by U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III would be a standard transaction, ″certainly not″ affected by Swiss laws barring arms transfers to areas of conflict.
At a Washington news conference Tuesday, Meese said profits made on the sale of U.S. arms to Iran, via Israel, were deposited in Swiss accounts controlled by Nicaraguan rebels known as Contras.
But Contra spokesman Adolfo Calero, interviewed Wednesday on the ″CBS Morning News,″ denied that the rebels had Swiss accounts and had received money from the alleged Iranian connection.
Martin Luescher, a Zurich lawyer, said the alleged transfer apparently would not have violated a gentlemen’s agreement between Swiss banks and the national bank aimed at preventing abuse of Switzerland’s banking secrecy laws.
Luescher said published reports indicate that the banks, as required by the pact, knew the identity of the account holders and that apparently no illegal transactions were involved.
The lawyer has been designated by the banks and the Swiss national bank to oversee compliance with the gentlemen’s pact.
The Swiss Foreign Ministry’s No. 2 man, Edouard Brunner, said in Washington on Friday after talks with Secretary of State George P. Shultz that Switzerland had not known about Washington’s secret arms sales to Iran.
Washington and Tehran do not have diplomatic relations, and Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran.