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Swiss Court Rejects Former Haitian Dictator's Family's Appeal

A Swiss court has rejected an appeal by the family of Haiti's former dictator to reclaim the money it had stashed away in Swiss bank accounts.

The family of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier has not been able to gain access to the accounts, totaling $6 million, since 2002.

The court's rejection of the family's appeal opens the way for the Swiss government's plan to give the money to aid agencies in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

The government says the Duvalier family has failed to prove the money in the accounts is of legitimate origin.

The court said the Duvalier family had diverted public Haitian funds into the Swiss accounts through a Liechtenstein foundation. The Swiss court described the foundation as a "criminal organization."

The Duvaliers can appeal the case.

Switzerland has long been known as a country where money could be easily hidden because of its banking secrecy rules. However, recent banking reforms have made it harder to hide money there.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.