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Assets of Liberia's Ex-President Sought

A U.N. resolution tells countries to freeze the funds of Charles Taylor, an accused war criminal.

March 13, 2004|From Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution Friday to freeze the assets of ousted Liberian President Charles Taylor, who is living in exile and has been indicted on war crimes charges.

The resolution requires all countries to freeze funds, financial assets "and economic resources owned or controlled directly or indirectly" by Taylor, his wife and son, as well as others on a U.N. sanctions committee list to be circulated to the 191 U.N. member states.

Those on the list would be able to keep whatever assets their host countries determine to be essential.

Taylor fled to Nigeria on Aug. 11 as rebels laid siege to the Liberian capital, Monrovia. He faces war crimes charges by a U.N.-backed tribunal for his role in a brutal insurgency in Sierra Leone, Liberia's neighbor.

Taylor's departure from Liberia cleared the way for a power-sharing arrangement between his government and the rebels after a war that claimed more than 150,000 lives.

The resolution is aimed at locating resources it says Taylor and his associates drained from their country.

But Taylor's former spokesman said the former president did not have any money for the Security Council to freeze.

"What assets are they talking about? Charles Taylor has no assets anywhere apart from his dwelling house in Liberia," Vaanii Paasewe said from Nigeria.

Officials reject Paasewe's contention that Taylor has no substantial assets but they acknowledge that they do not know where the assets might be hidden.

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