Switzerland and the USA share assets of criminal origin

Press Release, FOJ, 24.11.2015

Bern. In one of the largest asset-sharing case to date, Switzerland and the USA have divided around USD 50 million in assets of criminal origin. Each state received half. The proceeds of illegal sports betting had been frozen by the Federal Office of Justice FOJ as part of legal assistance proceedings.

As part of the U.S. prosecution, the founder and other executives of the "BetOnSports" online betting business entered into plea agreements in 2009 with the U.S. government, whereby they agreed to the forfeiture of funds located in Switzerland.  As a result, the FOJ was able to unfreeze the assets, to allow the defendants to forfeit the funds to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury proposed sharing the assets with Swiss authorities, who had provided legal assistance to U.S. authorities by locating, freezing, and ultimately assisting U.S. authorities to forfeit the assets. The sharing agreement was concluded at the end of 2014, and last week the Department of the Treasury transferred the Swiss share of the assets to the federal government.

The USD 25 million will now be shared between the federal government and the canton of Geneva. Under the terms of the Swiss Division of Forfeited Assets Act, the canton in which the forfeited assets were located receives 2/10 of the amount. Although legal assistance proceedings were led by the FOJ, the canton of Geneva was charged with their actual execution, thus entitling it to a further 5/10 of the assets.

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