Egypt, Tunisia stumble through Swiss legal hoops

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BERN, Switzerland: The Swiss were among the first to freeze the assets of ousted presidents Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and now the countries are finding it’s not so easy to get that money back.

Justice Ministry spokesman Folco Galli told The Associated Press on Sunday the Swiss government sent diplomatic cables in late March explaining to Egypt and Tunisia their requests to begin recovering the money were legally insufficient.

A Swiss official traveled to Tunisia in February and will go soon to Egypt to guide the governments through the Swiss legal process.

Galli said those governments must submit evidence of any criminal wrongdoing involving the money so Swiss authorities can decide "whether these offenses would also be punishable or not in Switzerland."

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