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Swiss Launch Yanukovych Money-Laundering Probe

<p>Three European countries -- Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein -- have frozen assets of Ukraine's fugitive president Yanukovych.</p>
People come out from a bank office in central Kiev.
People come out from a bank office in central Kiev. Judicial authorities in Geneva said Friday they have launched a criminal investigation into alleged money laundering by ousted Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych and his son.BULENT KILIC / AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: The Associated Press

Authorities in Switzerland announced Friday they have launched a corruption probe against Ukraine's fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych and his son Aleksander, and blocked all the potential assets that might be hidden in the Alpine nation.

The Geneva prosecutors' office said in a statement that the criminal investigation concerned "aggravated money laundering."

"Chief prosecutor Yves Bertossa and members of the financial police conducted a search in the morning of Feb. 27 at the premises of a company owned by Aleksander Yanukovych," prosecutors said. Documents were seized, but the prosecutor said no further details of the investigation would be provided.

Separately, the nation's governing Federal Council, which includes the president and six other ministers, said Friday it has decided to block all assets Yanukovych and his entourage might have in Switzerland, effective immediately.

Switzerland joins Austria and Liechtenstein in freezing the assets of up to 20 Ukrainians, including Yanukovych and his son. Ukraine's new rulers have said that $70 billion had disappeared into offshore accounts over the past three years, leaving the country destitute amid the crisis.

-- The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.