Letter: Swiss answer charges of non-cooperation

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Sir: Following the article by Chris Blackhurst (28 April) about the Gordon Foxley affair, I would like to draw your attention to the following points.

Despite the fact that at the time the request for mutual assistance was presented, the UK was not a party to the European Convention on international mutual assistance and could therefore not grant reciprocity, the Swiss federal authorities agreed to consider the case and to transmit it to the competent cantonal judge in Geneva.

For international mutual assistance in criminal matters to be granted, the offence committed must also constitute a crime in Switzerland. That is the case here, since corruption of a civil servant is, as in Britain, a criminal offence covered and punished by the Swiss criminal code.

It must be stressed that the request by the British authorities was not rejected as such by the Swiss authorities, but the documents submitted were not complete and accurate enough for the cantonal judge to establish a double indictment and therefore to disclose the evidence requested.

Furthermore, the British authorities never asked for the freezing of the accounts or the restitution of the money.

Yours sincerely,

FRANZ MUHEIM

Ambassador of Switzerland

London, W1

2 May

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