Swiss move to seize assets of ex-Ukrainian leader's ally

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Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych walks through the presidential lounge to take his seat at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, February 7, 2014. REUTERS/David Goldman/POOL

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ZURICH, May 25 (Reuters) - The Swiss government plans to seize more than 100 million Swiss francs' ($104 million) worth of assets from an associate of Ukraine's former president, Viktor Yanukovich, who was deposed in 2014, it said on Wednesday.

The proceedings concern assets of Yuriy Ivanyushchenko and his family that were frozen after Ukraine's 2014 revolution, it said in a statement, stressing the move was unrelated to sanctions that Bern imposed against Russians this year.

The finance ministry will now ask the Federal Administrative Court to approve confiscating the assets so that they can be returned to Ukraine, the government said.

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Days after Yanukovich's ouster, the Swiss cabinet ordered the freezing of any assets in Switzerland of the deposed president and his entourage, including Ivanyushchenko, a former member of parliament whom it described as a close confidant of the former leader.

Ukraine launched criminal proceedings to confiscate the frozen assets in Switzerland, but has struggled to get its hands on the money.

"With the outbreak of war in Ukraine, these difficulties were severely compounded," the cabinet said, adding that launching confiscation proceedings in Switzerland "is now both possible and appropriate".

($1 = 0.9622 Swiss francs)

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Reporting by Michael Shields, Editing by Miranda Murray and Toby Chopra

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