Why Baby Doc Really Returned: Cash?
Struggling Duvalier has money frozen in Switzerland
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 21, 2011 7:33 AM CST
Jean-Claude Duvalier, known as "Baby Doc," walks inside hotel Karibe, where he is staying, before leaving the hotel through the back entrance, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 20, 2011.   (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
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(Newser) – In all the speculation over the reason for “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s sudden return to Haiti, a possible new motive has emerged: The former dictator may have been seeking access to cash, the New York Times notes. The former ruler allegedly embezzled $300 million from his country, but insiders say he has frittered away most of his money. Some $6 million, however, is tied up in a Swiss account.

A new Swiss law will give the government more power to return appropriated funds to their origin countries, but it doesn’t take effect until Feb. 1. Until then, if states want to lay claim to money in Switzerland, they must prove they have begun a criminal investigation of the suspected embezzler. Duvalier may have hoped to enter and leave Haiti without incident—he was supposed to depart yesterday—allowing him to claim to Swiss officials that the country wasn’t interested in criminal proceedings and that he should therefore have access to the $6 million.