Suppose, a 3rd world country X had a corrupt/autocratic government in the 90's. Politicians embezzled a lot of public money and deposited them in various banks in Switzerland.

In the 2010's, that government is replaced by a democratically elected and popular government.

How can X's new government bring back that money from Switzerland?

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    This sounds like it might do better over in Law SE; the political answer would be "ask nicely", but there may be legal avenues under Swiss banking law. Also, note that Switzerland is no longer the most favoured location for corruptly obtained money; these days its more likely to be some combination of "offshore" tax havens combined with a network of holding companies to obfuscate as much as possible. – Paul Johnson Aug 8 '18 at 16:02
  • @user4012 I'm not so sure. Since we're dealing with interactions between sovereign countries (getting money back from a Swiss bank would require action by the Swiss government) it ultimately comes down to politics, not law. It might still be too speculative to have a good answer, though. – divibisan Aug 8 '18 at 17:10
  • @divibisan Switzerland is a rule-of-law country. So I don't that the Swiss government is actually able to instruct private banks what to do. The judical system might rule that the funds should be confiscated and paid to the new government, but judges should also be independent from the politicians. But I am not an expert on Swiss law. Maybe someone on Law Stack Exchange is. – Philipp Aug 8 '18 at 17:15
  • @Philipp: Well, as an analogy, in most countries, the legislature (politicians) makes laws on how a person's assets should be distributed if they die without a will, and how (and whether) wills are to be executed when they exist. The judicial system is obligated to enforce those laws. I don't see why Swiss lawmakers couldn't make laws applicable to this situation, at which point Swiss judges would have to issue rulings in accordance with the law (unless they held the laws to be illegal). – Nate Eldredge Aug 8 '18 at 17:49

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