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Thursday, 07 February 2019 00:00

Indonesia and Switzerland Sign Reciprocal Legal Aid Agreement

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Indonesia and Switzerland Sign Reciprocal Legal Aid Agreement


After going through various diplomacy, including two-round negotiation between Indonesia and Switzerland, finally a mutual legal assistance agreement-MLA was signed by Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna Hamonangan Laoly and Swiss Minister of Justice, Karin Keller-Sutter at Bernerhof Bern, Switzerland Monday (4/2). The agreement consisting of 39 articles regulates legal assistance regarding tracking, freezing, confiscation and seizure of assets resulting from crime. The scope of this broad range of criminal reciprocal assistance is an important part of supporting the process of criminal law in the requesting country.

This agreement is an attempt by the Indonesian government to ensure that Indonesian citizens or legal entities comply with Indonesian tax regulations and avoid tax crimes. Minister Yasonna said that the MLA agreement could be used to combat crime in the taxation sector. To reach the crime that has been committed before the entry into force of the agreement, Indonesia proposes that the agreement is to adhere to the retroactive principle. For Indonesia, this agreement is the 10th MLA. Previously, Indonesia signed MLA with ASEAN, Australia, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, India, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, and Iran. As for Switzerland, this agreement is the 14th MLA with non-European countries.

This signing will be beneficial for the two countries, especially for Indonesia to enforce the law against corruption, money laundering and tax criminality. So far, cases related to money laundering and tax crimes have been difficult to disclose due to constraints on access and coverage. With the signing of the MLA, this will make it easier to track and recover assets resulting from criminal acts stored in Switzerland. Quoted from Gabriel Zucman's research in 2017, the amount of global assets in tax haven countries reached 10% of global GDP equivalent to Rp800,000 trillion. Of that amount, Rp32,000 trillion is deposited in Switzerland. Therefore, the Indonesian Government has a strong reason to sign MLA with Switzerland and immediately implement it.


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