Last Updated: Mon Jul 04, 2011 01:30 am (KSA) 22:30 pm (GMT)

Switzerland blocks Syrian assets belonging to Assad & Co

Demonstrators, during a solidarity protest for Syria, in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP photo)
Demonstrators, during a solidarity protest for Syria, in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP photo)

Switzerland has frozen 27 million francs ($31.8 million) worth of assets linked to the Syrian regime, its latest move in a string of financial actions against dictatorships shaken by regional civil unrest.

Financial sanctions and travel restrictions were imposed against 23 key members of the Syrian regime in May, including President Bashar Al Assad, intelligence chief Ali Mamlouk and interior minister Mohammad Ibrahim Al Chaar, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said on Sunday.

The decision to freeze the assets cited the individuals’ “involvement in the repression against demonstrators,” said SECO.

“The total sum blocked is 27 million francs,” a SECO spokeswoman said, adding that she could not specify to whom exactly the assets belonged.

Pro-democracy protests in Syria began in mid-March. Human rights groups estimate that more than 1,360 civilians have been killed and thousands more arrested in the Syrian regime’s crackdown against the protestors.

Seeking to allay any remaining suspicions that Switzerland is still the first port of call for dictatorships looting their countries, the Swiss government has cracked down on another series of funds linked to Middle East regimes.

The Alpine nation blocked 410 billion francs linked to ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his immediate entourage less than two hours after his resignation was announced on February 11.

(Eman El-Shenawi, a writer at Al Arabiya English, can be reached at: eman.elshenawi@mbc.net.)

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