A Switzerland Ambassador to Nigeria, Hans Rudolf Hodel, has revealed that his country has traced about 370 million dollars Nigeria money looted by late Sani Abacha’s family to Luxembourg.
He also revealed that it is now difficult for anybody to bank laundering money in any bank operating in his country, adding that “before you deposit money in Swiss bank, you have to prove that you have earned that money legally.”
Hodel who visited the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja on Monday, assured that his country will work with the incoming government to fight corruption.
“There was another request by Nigeria to the Swiss authority to look for Abacha money and some amount has been found in an account, but in Luxembourg. That is now between the Abacha family and the government. They have tried to find a deal so that this money can also come back.
“The Swiss government is not involved. The Nigerian government has asked for legal assistance. When the government makes a request to my government, we work together on it. But this case is different. That is the Abacha family directly with the Nigerian government finding a deal. So, the Swiss government is not involved and the money is in Luxembourg. They have asked for legal assistance and we have provided with this information. If is not a classical case and we would have prefer a classical case where we can give the money back and make sure that if is used in the interest of the people. Now it is up to the Nigerian government.”
According to him, “Our laws are there to help all countries which are fighting corruption. We will help this government. If you remember, many years ago we gave back the Abacha money to Nigeria. The situation in Switzerland has changed. The policy is no longer the same. In the last, people come to deposit money in Switzerland without too much controversy. Now, it is not possible to deposit money in Switzerland because of legal origin.
“Before the bank has to prove that the money is illegal. But now, before you deposit money in Swiss bank, you have to prove that you have earned that money legally. If you are a wealthy businessman, you have have money in billions legally, but if, for example as a Journalist, you come to Switzerland with two million dollars and say you earned it because you did a very good job, nobody will believe you.”