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Switzerland Freezes Bank Accounts Linked to Liberia's Charles Taylor - 2003-07-23

Swiss authorities say they have frozen about $1.5 million in bank accounts linked to Liberian President Charles Taylor following his indictment for war crimes.

Swiss officials say the accounts, held in Zurich and Geneva, belong to two people associated with Liberian President Charles Taylor. They would not identify the account holders, but say they know of no bank accounts held by President Taylor himself.

Last month, the Swiss Ministry of Justice ordered that all bank accounts belonging to Mr. Taylor, his relatives and close associates be frozen.

The government acted on a request from the United Nations-backed war crimes court in Sierra Leone, which indicted the Liberian President for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He is accused of having funded rebel groups in Sierra Leone and of enriching himself off illegal gun and diamond trafficking.

According to figures released by the Swiss National Bank, Liberia has more financial transactions with Switzerland than any other African nation. Records show Liberia has $3.3 billion of assets in the country.