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Friday, July 21, 2023

Fondue ! - Swiss restitutes money to Taiwan !!


It is often touted as the best place on earth to live in – peaceful, abundance of natural resources, no conflict and more .. ..  but there is some hidden side to that too !!

It’s national dish is -   made with cornstarch cheese and wine. ... it is famous for Chocolates, Watches, Fasnacht, Cheese, mountains, Skiing, train rides and .. ..  it is Switzerland.

Switzerland is known as a neutral state. You will often, in situations of conflict, hear people say, “I’m Switzerland.”   In line with History, while their army is one of the most advanced ones in the world, Switzerland hasn’t been to war since 1505. Its neutrality has also given them the advantages they enjoy today, inside and outside Europe. The Federal Council states that they are in the Schengen zone and have implemented a few EU laws to accommodate trade, but are not members of the EU.

Fondue  is a Swiss melted cheese and wine dish served in a communal pot (caquelon or fondue pot) over a portable stove (réchaud) heated with a candle or spirit lamp, and eaten by dipping bread into the cheese using long-stemmed forks.  In the dreamland of Switzerland, there are mountains for tourists to enjoy.   You could have seen films heroine singing in Alps !!  The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range that is entirely in Europe, stretching approximately 1,200 km (750 mi) across seven Alpine countries: France, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia.

Switzerland  is a federal republic in Europe. While still named the "Swiss Confederation" for historical reasons, modern Switzerland is a federal directorial republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities, called Bundesstadt ("federal city"). Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura.   It has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815—and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Switzerland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and human development.

We hear about this Nation, more specifically their Banks, whenever a scam news breaks out.  In early 2011, several reports in  Indian media alleged Swiss Bankers Association officials of stating  that the largest depositors of illegal foreign money in Switzerland are Indians.  Though these were to be denied immediately later by Swiss Bankers Association as well as the central bank of Switzerland – there have been many reported list containing the name of Indians having such black money deposits.

This post is about money – not exactly black money but bad money !!  - and the news of Switzerland returning $138 Mn (approx. Rs.1138 crores)  to Taiwan !!

The Barron's Daily quoting Taipei's justice ministry reported that  Taiwan has recovered $138 million of "illicit kickbacks" from Switzerland related to a controversial French frigates deal more than three decades ago. 

Taiwanese businessman Andrew Wang, who died in 2015, was accused of taking bribes linked to a $2.8 billion contract for Taiwan to buy six Lafayette-class warships from France in 1991. Taiwan had requested judicial assistance from Switzerland since 2001 in the corruption case because much of the ill-gotten money was kept in Swiss bank accounts. Switzerland had seized some $900 million and, in 2005, handed Taiwan numerous documents linked to the accounts.

Swiss authorities transferred $138.04 million back to Taiwan on July 11, the ministry said in a statement, calling it a "historic breakthrough in judicial cooperation".  It said Switzerland had frozen more than 20 accounts controlled by the Wang family between 2001 and 2003 and had proposed to share the frozen assets. "Since Switzerland has assisted in this case for more than 20 years... Taiwan agreed to share the assets with Switzerland at a ratio of 50 to 50 to facilitate long-term international collaboration," the ministry statement said.

Allegations of bribes first emerged in 1993 after the body of the officer who ran the Taiwanese navy's weapons acquisitions office was found floating in the sea off the island's east coast. Investigators believed he was murdered because he was ready to blow the whistle on rampant corruption in the military, including the Lafayette deal. A French judicial probe opened in 2001 to investigate claims that much of the money paid by Taiwan went on commissions to local middlemen, politicians and military officers in China and France. Wang, along with his wife and four children, was indicted in 2006 on corruption and money-laundering charges over the case, which had strained French ties with China at the time.

He was put on Taiwan's most-wanted list after he and his family fled the island shortly before the scandal broke in 1993. Wang died in London in 2015 and was later removed from the wanted list. His family members are still wanted in Taiwan, according to prosecutors. The restitution from Switzerland is the second batch that Taiwan recovered from overseas after Liechtenstein returned around $11 million in February, Taipei said. 

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st July 2023.

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