Swiss banks find only $3.4 million in Mobutu assets
June 3, 1997
Web posted at: 3:03 p.m. EDT (1903 GMT)
GENEVA (CNN) -- Swiss banks have found $3.4 million in assets
stashed away by ousted Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko,
far short of the billions the rebels who toppled him claim he
Mobutu, 32-year dictator of the country that has been renamed
the Democratic Republic of Congo by its new leaders, fled to
Morocco last month as rebels led by Laurent Kabila entered
Kinshasa, the capital. Switzerland froze Mobutu's assets
hours after his departure.
Mobutu's Swiss assets do include a $5.5 million, 30-room
mansion in Lausanne. But the $7.7 billion Congo Justice
Minister Celestin Lwangi alleged Mobutu had squirreled away
were not found, and Swiss officials said there was no more to
be found in their vaults.
"As the banking supervisor, basically we are satisfied," said
Federal Banking Commission deputy director Daniel
Zuberbuehler. "I don't think we can order any other search."
"There are no billions," Zuberbuehler said. "It would be nice
if Mobutu had billions here, but he probably has spent the
Most of the funds, Zuberbuehler said, were at one bank in two
Jean Ziegler, a Socialist member of Switzerland's Parliament
and a fierce critic of the Swiss banking industry's ongoing
crisis over Holocaust assets, accused the banks of lying "to
defend their client Mobutu."
"This is grotesque," he said. "This is a financial empire and
it is here in Switzerland."
Congo's new government wants the funds returned to the
country, but Swiss banking officials say the process could
Reuters contributed to this report.
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