Haitian officials seeking Duvalier’s assets
BERN, Switzerland (AP) _ Swiss officials have met with Haitian government representatives who are tracking foreign assets of exiled dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, a Justice Ministry spokesman said Monday.
Joerg Kistler said in a telephone interview that the two sides had been in touch since the one-day meeting last week. He would not reveal the day the meeting was held, names of the participants or whether more meetings were planned.
Swiss government sources said privately the Haitians were a government legal adviser and Justice Ministry official, and were briefed on what assistance was possible under Swiss law.
The sources did not indicate the amount of Duvalier assets said to be involved.
Duvalier fled his Caribbean island nation Feb. 7. He had sought refuge in several countries, including Switzerland, but all refused.
France agreed to give him temporary haven, for nine days while he found a country that would take him permanently, and he has been there since.
A private Swiss group that monitors capital transfers said at the time it had no information that he had transferred personal funds to Switzerland. Swiss central bank statistics showed Haitian central bank deposits in this country of $10 million.
Last week’s meeting followed the government’s unprecedented freeze order on assets linked to Ferdinand E. Marcos, former president of the Philippines, who fled his country Feb. 26. The freeze was announced March 25.
A representative of Corazon Aquino, new president of the Philippines, arrived here the day after the order seeking information on how to claim hundreds of millions of dollars Marcos allegedly moved to Switzerland.
Swiss radio said Monday that the Federal Banking Commission was investigating the Duvalier case, but commission spokesman Romain Marti said he could not confirm the report.
In Paris, French officials said a Haitian delegation met last week with a Foreign Ministry official about Duvalier’s assets. French officials said they were studying the matter, but the Haitian Embassy in Paris refused comment.