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Dictators see Swiss millions frozen

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11:19 CEST+02:00

Switzerland said on Monday it had frozen 830 million francs ($960 million) in funds belonging to north African strongmen since the start of this year's popular uprisings.

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey revealed the figure during a conference in Tunisia, where she is on a three-day visit, foreign ministry spokesman Lars Knuchel told AFP.

Most of the blocked funds - 410 million francs - are linked to former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his associates, Knuchel said.

Another 360 million francs blocked by Switzerland are believed to belong to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's regime and 60 million francs to former Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his associates.

Switzerland ordered the freezing of the assets of Ben Ali and Mubarak shortly after they were toppled in popular uprisings in January and February respectively.

It ordered a freeze on Qaddafi's assets in February after he cracked down on opposition protests, sparking an armed conflict with rebels and international military action against his regime.

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