Swiss freeze Gbagbo’s millions, what were they doing there in the first place?

'Who me? Steal millions?' The deposed Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo strikes an innocent pose. He has had part of his personal fortune - worth more than $80 million - frozen by Swiss authorities.

Today Swiss authorities did the decent thing and froze assets reportedly worth $80 million owned by Laurent Gbagbo, the reluctantly deposed ex-President of Ivory Coast.

Ok, so this is not the multi-billion fortune that some of Africa’s long-standing and hard-to-oust leaders ran up during their tenure: Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (now renamed Congo) would have blown such paltry sums on Methuselahs of Champagne, gallons of perfume and chartered Concords.

But far from elevating Switzerland’s secretive banks to the moral high ground the move to freeze Gbagbo’s assets only begs the question of why Swiss banks continue to be such willing repositories of ill-gotten gains from the world’s crooks and despots.