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 Rep. Bob Barr Says Haiti Ex-Dictator JCD Seeks to Unlock Swiss Funds

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MessageSujet: Rep. Bob Barr Says Haiti Ex-Dictator JCD Seeks to Unlock Swiss Funds   Sam 22 Jan 2011 - 13:46



Bob Barr Says Haiti Ex-Dictator Seeks to Unlock Swiss Funds

January 22, 2011, 12:52 PM EST
By Blake Schmidt
Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Bob Barr, a former U.S. congressman, said Haitian ex-dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier is trying to unlock frozen funds left in Swiss banks after he fled to Paris exile amid a 1986 rebellion.

Duvalier “is very interested in trying to get those funds freed up, not for himself, but so they can be used to help the situation in Haiti,” Barr said by phone from Port-au-Prince today. Barr, 62, was a Republican representative from Georgia in 1995-2003 and ran for president in 2008 on the Libertarian Party ticket.

Barr accompanied Duvalier yesterday as the former dictator made his first public comments since his Jan. 16 return to his homeland from a 25-year exile. Also accompanying Duvalier were two other American lawyers, Ed Marger of Jasper, Georgia, and Mike Puglise of Snellville, Georgia, according to a statement issued by Barr’s office.

The 59-year-old Duvalier, also known as “Baby Doc,” apologized to victims of abuses during his government, vowed to help the quake-ravaged nation rebuild and said he expected to face “persecution” upon his return. Haitian authorities opened a corruption case against him two days after his return.

The former dictator said his desire to help Haiti rebuild from last year’s quake that killed more than 300,000 “far outweighs any harassment I could face,” according to a video of his speech posted on the website of the daily Nouvelliste.

Charges Against Duvalier
Haitian authorities accused Duvalier of criminal conspiracy, embezzlement and corruption, prosecutor Aristidas Auguste told Radio Metropole. Duvalier allegedly stole public funds during his rule and hid them in Swiss bank accounts, Enrico Monfrini, a Switzerland-based lawyer representing the Haitian government, told Metropole.

A new Swiss law set to take effect Feb. 1 may allow authorities to return to Haiti as much as $7.3 million frozen in Duvalier’s accounts, said Jenny Piaget, a spokeswoman for the Swiss foreign affairs department.

Duvalier’s 15-year rule began in 1971 when his father, Francois Duvalier, known as “Papa Doc,” appointed him president for life. The Duvaliers oversaw the killings of 20,000 to 30,000 civilians, many at the hands of the Tonton Macoutes secret police, according to Human Rights Watch.

Amnesty International, which has pressured for Duvalier to be tried for crimes against humanity, said the corruption case is “a positive step, but it is not enough,” according to a Jan. 18 statement.

When asked about the crimes against humanity charges, Barr, who is advising Duvalier and not representing him as a lawyer, said “allegations are the cheapest commodity on the market.”

Election Standoff
Duvalier returned amid a political standoff over disputed presidential elections held Nov. 28 in which opposition accused the ruling party of President Rene Preval of rigging the vote.

A second-round runoff vote set for Jan. 16 was postponed after the Organization of American States recommended that ruling party candidate Jude Celestin withdraw from the contest to replace Preval based on an analysis by foreign observers. Haiti’s electoral council, which has not reset a date for a runoff, said it is considering the report.

Barr, who led the push to impeach former U.S. president Bill Clinton in 1998, said Duvalier’s return is not political.

“I don’t sense that politics is part of his agenda at this point,” Barr said.
Robert Pastor, who served as former President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser for Latin America, said in an e-mail that it’s likely Duvalier’s motive for returning was “reconstruction of his image, which was worse than Port-au- Prince after the earthquake.”

--Editors: Mark Rohner, Ann Hughey
To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Schmidt in Granada, Nicaragua at bschmidt16@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

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MessageSujet: Re: Rep. Bob Barr Says Haiti Ex-Dictator JCD Seeks to Unlock Swiss Funds   Sam 22 Jan 2011 - 15:30

Citation :
One of the lawyers, Edwin Marger, denied that Duvalier harboured any political ambitions. But he said Duvalier does want access to funds frozen in a bank account in Switzerland to contribute to the reconstruction.
Duvalier “is very interested in trying to get those funds freed up, not for himself, but so they can be used to help the situation in Haiti,” Barr said.

Apre le 1st Fevrier,2011, dat krisyal ke bank Swuiss by kom delai a $7.3 Million dolla sa fet pou retounen bay nouvo gouvenman kap vini an pou yo rekonstwi peyi a.

Si JC Duvalier vle sinserman patisipe nan rekonstriksyon peyi a, se bali bouwet, pel ak pikwa, pa bali dwa a lajan.

Fok nouvo gouvenman pran angajman pou yo jere lajan saa e pran angajman pou yo konstwi 7 lekol e 7 lhopital a la memoire de viktim yo.

JC Duvalier tou deja razé deja, nou pakab pran chans pou kite'l retiré lajan saa nan bank Swuiss e kite'l fe gagott ak li.
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