Geneva: The new Ivory Coast government has
filed a criminal complaint against ousted former strongman Laurent Gbagbo in Switzerland for money laundering and to recover millions of dollars he squirreled away in Swiss
banks, a lawyer defending the state said Tuesday.
"The complaint filed against Mr. Gbagbo, his wife and
several members of his circle was sent on March 29 in the name
of the Republic of Ivory Coast," Bruno de Preux, a Swiss
lawyer representing the Ivorien government told reporters.
The complaint was filed at the Swiss government`s
criminal investigations department aimed at "retrieving all
the Ivorien assets blocked by Switzerland," he added.
According to the Federal Department of Foreign
Affairs, the funds amount to some 80 million dollars.
In January, Switzerland, traditionally seen as a safe
haven for dictators` assets, immediately blocked funds
belonging to Gbagbo in order to prevent their misappropriation
before their origin could be determined.
Last Friday President Alassane Ouattara, regarded by
the international community as the winner of a run-off poll
with Gbagbo last year, was sworn in as head of state after
five months of violence and political standoff.
The fighting between the followers of Gbagbo and
Ouattara had prompted fears of a return to the all-out civil
war which effectively led to a north-south divide in the
former French colony at the last decade.
Gbagbo was arrested on April 11 with his wife Simone
and roughly 100 loyalists following a raid on his residence in
Abidjan by pro-Ouattara forces.