I have emailed Swiss Members of Parliament asking them to support the motion in Swiss Parliament to repatriate RM430 million 1MDB-related funds confiscated from Swiss banks because of money-laundering and other corrupt practices to Malaysia so as to benefit Malaysians harmed by the international mega 1MDB financial scandal.
The Swiss Parliament is to debate a motion on Tuesday calling for the repatriation of confiscated corruption funds, including the CHF104 million (RM430 million) allegedly stolen and money-laundered from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Lawmakers at the national council, the lower house of the Swiss federal assembly, are expected to vote on the matter on Thursday.
The repatriation of corruption money hidden or stashed away overseas from their country of origin and their use to benefit the nationals harmed by such corrupt practices is a principle which has been accepted internationally as a result of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption 2003, which Malaysia signed in Mexico on 9th December 2003 and officially ratified on 24th Sept. 2008.
A highlight of the Convention is the inclusion of a specific chapter on asset recovery, aimed at returning assets to their rightful owners, including countries from which they had been taken illicitly.
Article 35 of the UN Convention Against Corruption upheld the principle that “entities or persons who have suffered damage as a result of an act of corruption have the right to initiate legal proceedings against those responsible for that damage in order to obtain compensation”.
The motion before the Swiss Parliament reads:
“The Federal Council (cabinet) is instructed to repatriate to its country of origin, at least in part, profits unlawfully obtained in third party countries by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) in accordance to the procedures of the Illegally Acquired Assets Act (SR 196.1) in the countries concerned.”
The motion is triggered by plans to absorb the illicit funds linked to financial crimes like the 1MDB scandal recovered by the Swiss authorities into the Swiss treasury.
This will be against the principle enunciated in the UN Convention Against Corruption, that stolen corruption monies in foreign banks and institutions, like the stolen 1MDB-linked funds, should be repatriated back to Malaysia to benefit the victims of the 1MDB scandal – the 30 million Malaysian people.
It would be most inappropriate to return the stolen 1MDB monies to the Government of Malaysia, as it is directly involved in the 1MDB scandal.
The RM430 million 1MDB-linked funds confiscated from Swiss banks and financial companies should be held in trust for the benefit of the people of Malaysia.
It would also be most improper and morally indefensible for the Swiss government to keep these monies for its own use as it would set bad international precedent in an era to declare and combat corruption as an international crime.