Swiss to return frozen funds to Kazakhstan

Switzerland will return $48 million to Kazakhstan, funds long frozen as part of a money laundering case, the foreign affairs ministry says.

The money "will profit the Kazakh people," the ministry said in a statement on Friday, adding that the World Bank had agreed earlier this week to act as an intermediary for the restitution of the funds.
The money was confiscated in 2011 after Geneva authorities opened an investigation into money laundering activities, the ministry said, without providing more details.

The money will be used to finance World Bank projects in Kazakhstan in the areas of politics, youth and energy efficiency, it added.

The World Bank estimates that nearly $5 billion in once confiscated funds have been returned to their countries of origin over the past 15 years.
 Switzerland accounts for more than one third of that amount, having returned a full $1.7 billion, the foreign ministry said.

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