David Jenny



David Jenny
Insolvency, Restructuring and Creditors' Rights Section of the IBA
The Bankrupt Empires
The Creditors Strike Back
1-3 May 2005
The Preservation and Asset Freeze: a Swiss Perspective
Dr. David Jenny
Aeschenvorstadt 4
CH-4010 Basel
[email protected]
Switzerland may still have the reputation to zealously shield assets located in Switzerland, especially if managed by a Swiss bank, from creditors and foreign authorities. This reputation is to a
large extent no longer deserved.
The (in)famous banking secrecy is no longer a formidable obstacle in criminal proceedings if the
relevant crimes do not constitute simple tax evasion.
Civil proceedings pursuing hidden assets may still appear to be rather cumbersome: Nuclear
weapons are banned in Switzerland: Creditors do not enjoy the benefits of legal nuclear weapons
comparable to Anton Piller Orders or Mareva Injunctions. However, the recognition of certain
foreign court orders allows to reap some benefits of these nuclear weapons in Switzerland. Attachment procedures on the basis of Swiss domestic law are only successful if it is made credible
that assets of the debtor are located in Switzerland.
To an outsider the federal structure of the Swiss state may appear to be another obstacle for a
creditor tracing assets: Substantive civil and criminal law as well as bankruptcy law are federal
laws. However, the overwhelming majority of civil or criminal proceedings are (still) governed by
cantonal (state) codes of civil or criminal procedure. And even though Swiss attorneys properly
registered in one canton may appear before all courts of all cantons (and all federal courts) it may
still be advisable in some cases to retain more than one set of lawyers if more than one canton is
involved .
If assets are traced vigorously in Switzerland then one has to be aware of the following traps:
Assistance of foreign proceedings in Switzerland may constitute a breach of art. 271 of the
Swiss Penal Code (forbidden acts for a foreign state) if a private person without having
been permitted by the Swiss authorities to do so engages in acts that are in Switzerland the
domain of public authorities such as courts, e.g., by deposing witnesses in Switzerland .
If business secrets are disclosed to non-Swiss authorities or private persons or companies
then art. 273 of the Swiss Penal Code (economic espionage; "Wirtschaftlicher
Nachrichtendienst") may be violated.
This paper attempts to give a brief overview of the different proceedings available to a foreign
creditor in Switzerland who wants to seize assets of a foreign debtor . Proceedings based on
criminal law are only very briefly discussed.
A term used by MARTIN S. KENNEY/ELIZABETH O'BRIEN, Multi-Jurisdictional Concealed Asset Recovery 'Investigations'
(2005), p. 37.
Swiss German lawyers (e.g. from Zurich, Basel or Berne) are hesitant to act in the French and Italian speaking
regions of Switzerland (e.g. in Geneva, Lausanne or Lugano) or in smaller, mostly alpine cantons. However, they
usually are able to instruct lawyers in these regions of Switzerland.
Difficulties can be avoided if the procedures of the Hague Evidence Convention in Civil or Commercial Matters are
used (see ANDREAS L. MEIER, Die Anwendung des Haager Beweisübereinkommens in der Schweiz (1999)).
This paper does not discuss in detail how blocked assets are realized and how the proceeds are distributed to the
Procedures based on Swiss Domestic Law
The statutory basis for an attachment (or freezing order) are the articles 271-281 of the (federal)
Swiss Debt Enforcement and Bankruptcy Law (in German: Bundesgesetz über Schuldbetreibung
und Konkurs ("SchKG")) . The following remarks focus on problems encountered by a foreign
creditor trying to attach assets of a foreign debtor located in Switzerland.
Prerequisites for an Attachment Order / Execution of the Order
A foreign creditor seeking to attach Swiss assets of a foreign debtor will normally base the request
for an attachment order on art. 271 (1) (4) SchKG. The requirements of this provision are easily
met if the creditor's (unsecured and matured) claim is evidenced by either an enforceable judgment
or by a written and signed recognition of debt. If neither a judgment nor a recognition of debt exists then the creditor has to show that there is a sufficient link between the claim and Switzerland.
It is not easy to define what constitutes a sufficient link: clearly not sufficient is the mere fact that
assets of the debtor are located in Switzerland , however, if, e.g., defrauded creditors have been
requested to make payments into a Swiss bank account, the sufficiency of the link will normally
be approved by the judge. The applicability of Swiss law may constitute a sufficient link with
Switzerland, also a jurisdiction clause in favour of a Swiss court or a Swiss place of arbitration or
of performance of contractual obligations. Even though Swiss courts are inclined to interpret this
provision in a "creditor friendly" manner , there remains quite a degree of incertitude with regard
to the interpretation of this provision: counsel is well advised to list in his/her position all possible
links to Switzerland.
If a prima facie showing of a ground for an attachment (art. 271 SchKG) has been made then two
more elements have to be made credible (art. 272 SchKG):
The existence of a claim: this can be quite difficult to show in the absence of a judgment or
a recognition of debt or a clear contractual foundation as only documents are admissible as
evidence .
That assets of the debtor are located in the judge's jurisdiction: This can be easily established if real estate is registered in the name of the debtor should be seized, this may be
For an overview of the Swiss case law and learned literature on attachment see Appendix 3 to this paper and
VISCHER's special website www.arrestpraxis.ch (www.attachment.ch).
For translation of these articles see Appendix 1 to this paper.
Prior to 1997 this was sufficient; the law has been changed, probably because banks were interested to make it
harder to seize assets in Switzerland. See BEAT KLEINER, Ausländerarrest - Kompromiss zwischen
Schuldnerverfolgung und Schädigung der eigenen Wirtschaft, in: Festschrift 100 Jahre SchKG (1989), pp. 371381.
Cf., e.g., the decision of the superior court (Obergericht) of the Canton of Zurich of May 8, 2002 published by
Some Swiss judges may accept documents in foreign languages such as English without (certified) translations
but they do not have to do so: In some jurisdictions it is possible to ask the judge prior to the filing about his/her
language skills.
impossible if there is only a suspicion that a debtor has bank accounts in Switzerland : attachment proceedings may not be abused for fishing expeditions (so called "Sucharreste").
The request for an attachment order has to be filed with the court at the place where the assets to
be seized are located . The court (normally a single judge) decides in an ex parte procedure , if
the request is denied then the debtor will not be informed about the unsuccessful attempt to obtain
an attachment order. If the attachment order is granted it will be executed by the competent cantonal authority (art. 275-276 SchKG). The results of the execution will be recorded in a special
document (art. 276 SchKG) . This document will be served to the creditor and the debtor .
Objection Procedure
The debtor or a third party affected by the attachment order may file an objection with the judge
who has issued the order within 10 days of learning thereof (art. 278 (1) SchKG). If the judge
comes to the conclusions that there were no sufficient grounds for the attachment order then the
attachment is lifted.
Validation of Attachment Orders
Art. 279 SchKG sets forth how the attachment order has to be validated (so called "Arrestprose18
quierung") . This may be relatively easy if a final judgment enforceable in Switzerland is the basis of the claim, it may be quite complicated if there is not yet a judgment or a pending procedure.
If the debtor is not a resident of Switzerland or of a member state of the Lugano Convention (cf.
Sometimes, creditors possess documentary evidence about bank accounts which may have been obtained because the Swiss bank secrecy rules have been breached. To use such documents in attachment proceedings may
not be advisable.
Where assets (especially claims) are located is sometimes a quite difficult question which is not discussed in this
In some cantons it is possible to request a hearing on extremely short notice (a phone call in the morning will
enable a hearing in the afternoon of the same day), in other cantons the judge decides solely on the basis of
written submission.
The judge may request that the creditor deposits with the court a security (in the form of cash or a bank guarantee) (art. 273 SchKG), quite often the security amounts to about 10% of the creditor's claim. The necessary security may be increased in later stages of the proceedings at the request of the debtor or third parties.
This document should include an estimate of the value of the frozen assets; if the estimated value does not justify the costs of the proceedings then a creditor can decide to abort them. However, banks generally do not permit the communication of the value of the assets seized in the early stages of the proceedings to the creditor.
The creditor is forced to decide whether or not to continue with quite costly proceedings without any knowledge
about the value of the seized assets. If foreign proceedings allow it to force the debtor to disclose his assets in
Switzerland this option should be exercised. After the termination of the objection procedure confirming the attachment order third parties have to give the necessary information (BGE [decisions of the Swiss Supreme Court]
129 III 391 et seq.).
If a foreign debtor does not appoint a representative in Switzerland service through the proper channels may
take a few months.
Counsel to the debtor or an affected third party has to check whether some objections have to be made by way
of an appeal in accordance with art. 17 SchKG.
Sufficient knowledge may have been gained prior to receipt of the official document recording the attachment order.
The details of validation are not discussed in this paper. The objective of the validation procedure is to be in position to request the realization of the assets and the distribution of the proceeds by the competent cantonal authority in accordance with the provisions of the Swiss Debt Enforcement and Bankruptcy Law. A successful attachment procedure does not grant rights of preference to the attachment creditor (art. 281 (3) SchKG) except
that costs are covered by the proceeds of the realization of attached assets (art. 281 (3) SchKG). The forms used
in Swiss enforcement proceedings can be found at http://www.schkg.ch/formulare/fr_formulare.htm.
infra II.2.a)) and if there are no applicable jurisdiction or arbitration clauses ordinary proceedings may be initiated in the Swiss courts having jurisdiction for the place where the attachment order has been granted.
Tactical Aspects
Before an attachment procedure is started a game plan should be agreed upon by the creditor,
his/her foreign counsel and Swiss counsel. The main issues to be discussed are the following:
The availability of sufficient funds to cover court costs
with the court.
Some Swiss courts are more inclined to grant attachments than others, the courts in the financial centres of Zurich and Geneva may be a bit more reluctant than the courts in some
other cantons . If claims (e.g, in the form of bank accounts) against the biggest Swiss
bank UBS AG should be attached then a creditor has the choice to initiate proceedings in
Zurich or Basel as UBS AG is one of the few Swiss companies to enjoy the privilege of a
dual legal domicile. Generally speaking, if claims against banks are to be seized there
might be choice between the judge at the place of the headquarters and the judge at the
place of the involved branch office.
If assets in more than one jurisdiction have to be frozen then the enforcement of the attachment orders has to be coordinated so that a debtor cannot hide assets after being informed about the first execution of an order.
Especially if the claim is not yet based on an enforceable judgment and no proceedings enforcing the claim are pending the necessary steps to validate the claim in accordance with
art. 279 SchKG (and the 10 days deadlines stipulated by this provision) have to be prepared: It has to be decided whether first a Swiss enforcement procedure is initiated. The
court having jurisdiction for ordinary proceedings has to be determined. The necessary organizational measures have to be taken so that Swiss counsel will receive all necessary
(translated and certified) documents in time so that she/he can show the Swiss authorities
that the steps requested by law have been taken and that a next step in Switzerland can be
initiated in time.
If there is a substantial risk that an attachment order may be lifted in the objection procedure then it may be advisable to be prepared to block the assets also by using criminal proceedings or by way of recognition of foreign freezing orders.
and a security to be deposited
An enforcement of debts procedure may be initiated against a debtor domiciled in a Lugano Convention member
state, however, whether a summary proceeding on the basis of a recognition of debt (so called "provisorische
Rechtsöffnung") at the place of attachment is possible is disputed (unfortunately, the Swiss Supreme Court had
no reason to decide this question in BGE 130 III 285 et seq., 291).
The maximum court costs for an attachment order are CHF 2'000. Swiss attorneys generally request an advance
payment to cover the fees during the initial stages of the attachment procedure.
On the other hand it may be said that the Basel court makes it quite difficult to attach assets of exhibitors of important trade fairs such as BASELWORLD held in Basel as the security to be deposited for possible damages may
be quite high.
These deadlines may be extended for foreign creditors.
Procedures based on the Lugano Convention
Switzerland is a party to the "Convention on jurisdiction and enforcement of judgements in civil
and commercial matters", the so called Lugano Convention. Swiss assets may be blocked or seized
by applying procedures based on this convention.
Recognition of Freezing Orders
In its decision of 30 July 2003 the Swiss Supreme Court upheld the recognition of an English
world wide freezing order (a so called Mareva Injunction) based on art. 31 of the Lugano Convention mainly because the requirements for recognition of such orders developed by the European
Court of Justice under the Brussels Convention (now: regulation) had been met. Most importantly
the defendant's right to be heard had been properly observed by the English High Court of Jus25
tice .
Blocking Swiss assets by way of recognition of orders such as the English world wide freezing order is an attractive option if the link to Switzerland necessary for the granting of a Swiss attachment order cannot be established (see supra II.1.b)). However, there are several disadvantages:
As it is necessary that the defendant was heard by the court issuing the order to be recognized the defendant will probably not be particularly surprised by the recognition of the or26
der by a Swiss court .
Third parties holding assets of the defendant do not breach a legal obligation if they hand
over assets to the defendant even though the freezing order has been recognized by a Swiss
court .
The recognition of a freezing order does not create the basis for realizing blocked assets in
favour of the creditor who has obtained the order and the recognition of the order .
Should the debtor not concede title to the blocked assets voluntarily then sooner or later an
attachment procedure has to be initiated.
Even if an attachment order has been granted by Swiss court ex parte the additional recognition of
a freezing order is advisable if there is a substantial risk that the attachment order will be lifted in
the objection procedure.
The other parties are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom and Gibraltar.
BGE 129 III 626 et seq.
For a detailed discussion see THOMAS WEIBEL, Enforcement of English Freezing Orders ("Mareva Injunctions") in
Switzerland (to be published in 2005).
The order recognizing a freezing order will be issued ex parte (Art. 34 (1) of the Lugano Convention).
Generally speaking, Swiss banks will respect such an order.
Foreign courts may force a defendant to grant powers of attorney making it possible to move assets out of jurisdictions like Switzerland. As far as I know it has not yet been decided whether such a "forced" power of attorney
must be revocable for Swiss law purposes. If yes then e.g., a Swiss bank may not transfer assets based on such
a power of attorney if a defendant has revoked it even though such a power of attorney is irrevocable according
to its wording.
Enforcement of Judgements
In proceedings enforcing a foreign judgment art. 39 of the Lugano Convention provides the basis
for protective (ex parte) measures . If a judgment ordering the payment of money should be en30
forced then an attachment is normally the proper protective measure. A judge competent to enforce a judgment has also the power to issue an attachment order even if assets to be seized are located out of his/her court district.
Seizure of Assets by Way of Recognition of Foreign Bankruptcies
Assets located in Switzerland may be seized by way of recognition of a foreign bankruptcy or re31
organization plan decree. Authorized to request recognition is the foreign trustee or a creditor.
The requirements stipulated in art. 166 of the Swiss Private International Law Statute ("PIL Statute") are the following:
The decree to be recognized is enforceable in the country where it was issued;
None of the grounds for denial under article 25 of the Statute exists;
The country where the decree was issued grants reciprocity .
If recognition is granted then a mini-bankruptcy procedure in accordance with the provisions of
the Swiss Private International Law Statute is instituted . An effect of the recognition is that assets of the debtor may no longer be seized by way of an attachment. A sometimes unwelcome side
effect of the recognition is the preference given to some categories of Swiss creditors (art. 172 (1)
PIL) and to all creditors domiciled in Switzerland if the foreign schedule of claims is not recognized (art. 174 PIL).
Special Proceedings on the Basis of International Treaties
Should the bankruptcy decree to be recognized be of German origin then the following has to be
checked before initiating a mini-bankruptcy procedure:
This provision is worded as follows: "During the time specified for an appeal pursuant to Article 36 and until any
such appeal has been determined, no measures of enforcement may be taken other than protective measures
taken against the property of the party against whom enforcement is thought. The decision authorizing enforcement shall carry with it the power to proceed to any such protective measures". As there is no provision in Swiss
federal domestic law implementing art. 39 there are quite a few disputes about the application of art. 39 among
courts and scholars which will not be discussed in this paper (cf., e.g., GERHARD WALTER, Internationales Zivilprozessrecht der Schweiz, 3d ed. (2002), pp. 453-460).
For a short explanation of the attachment procedure see supra II.1.
The Swiss Supreme Court has not yet decided whether a foreign trustee may not enforce claims of the estate
against Swiss debtors outside of a mini-bankruptcy (see unpublished decision of the Swiss Supreme Court dated
August 17, 2004 No. 7B.109/2004).
I.e. grounds for denial of the recognition of a foreign decision.
For an in depth analysis of this (often criticized) criterion see DANIEL STAEHELIN, Die Anerkennung ausländischer
Konkurse und Nachlassverträge in der Schweiz (Art. 166 ff. IPRG) (1989), pp. 65-107, cf. also LUKAS BOPP,
Sanierung im Internationalen Insolvenzrecht der Schweiz (2004), pp. 221-227; for a short overview in English
see NEIL COOPER/REBECCA JARVIS, Recognition and Enforcement of Cross-Border Insolvency (1996), pp. 123-125.
See Appendix 2 of this paper. An official statistics about the number of recognitions granted in a year is not available, however, in a normal year not more than about ten Mini-Bankruptcy proceedings are commenced.
Has the decree been issued by a court located in the former Kingdoms of Wurttemberg,
Bavaria or Saxony?
Are the assets to be seized located in one of the Swiss Cantons who have entered into a
bankruptcy treaty with the relevant of the aforementioned Kingdoms ?
If the answer to both questions is positive then the provisions of the respective bankruptcy treaty
are applicable and not the domestic law provisions regulating mini-bankruptcies as international
treaties take precedence (art. 1 (2) of the PIL Statute).
These treaties recognize (at least partially) the principle of the universality of the bankruptcy,
therefore, a separate Swiss mini-bankruptcy procedure may not be needed . For example, a German trustee (Insolvenzverwalter) invoking the Wurttemberg treaty may directly request third par37
ties holding assets of the debtor to hand such assets over . If this request is not successful then the
competent Cantonal Office of Bankruptcy has to grant assistance .
Seizure of Assets in Criminal Proceedings
As the codes of civil procedures in Switzerland only know quite limited rights of the parties to request documents from the other parties criminal proceedings are quite often initiated to obtain
documents to be used in civil proceedings. As access to such documents is usually granted at a late
stage of the criminal proceedings it is normally too late to use such information for successful attachment proceedings. Therefore, if the information necessary for a successful attachment procedure is not available it may be an alternative to request Swiss prosecutorial authorities either directly or indirectly through foreign prosecutors to block certain assets of a debtor in Switzerland.
In the end, the civil judge will decide in accordance with art. 59 of the Swiss Criminal Penal about
the distribution of the seized assets. Bad news for the creditors is that claims of the state are
granted preference
Special Aspects of Money Laundering Cases
If Swiss banks or other companies and persons considered to be financial intermediaries are informed in a convincing fashion that assets held by them may have their origin in certain crimes
For the texts of these three treaties see HANS ULRICH WALDER, SchKG, Schuldbetreibung und Konkurs, 16th ed.
(2002), pp. 970-975 (#109, 109a, 109b). These treaties haven been concluded between 1825 and 1837.
For a discussion of the treaties with Wurttemberg and Bavaria see ERICH BÜRGI, Konkursrechtliche Staatsverträge
der Schweiz, insbesondere mit den ehemaligen Königreichen Württemberg und Bayern sowie mit Frankreich, in:
Blätter für Schuldbetreibung und Konkurs 1989, pp. 81-109.
A decision of the Swiss Supreme Court of 1983 (BGE 109 III 83 et seq.) requesting a mini-bankruptcy despite the
Wurttemberg treaty is no longer considered to be authoritative even though the Supreme Court has never overruled this decision (for the Bavarian treaty see the decision of the Zurich District Court dated March 4, 1997 in:
Blätter für Schuldbetreibung und Konkurs 1999, pp. 25 et seq.).
The Office will then address an order to the third party holding assets (e.g, a bank) requesting such party to hand
over the assets to the Office. The Office will make the transfer of the assets to the German trustee.
See FLORIAN BAUMANN, Konkurrenz zwischen Staat und Zivilgläubigern beim Zugriff auf strafrechtlich
beschlagnahmtes Vermögen, Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsrecht 1999, p. 113-124; cf. also ANDRÉ A.
WICKI, "Asset Tracing" - Bemerkungen eines Praktikers, in: Wiedererlangung widerrechtlich entzogener
Vermögenswerte mit Instrumenten des Straf-, Zivil-, Vollstreckungs- und internationalen Rechts (1999), pp. 161178, who advises to use whenever possible civil proceedings.
(i.e. have been money laundered)
will be informed .
then such assets will be blocked and the competent authorities
It is tempting to block assets in Switzerland by use of both attachment and criminal proceeding.
However, the more proceedings are initiated the more difficult it will become to unwind these
proceedings not too long after they have been started. Once one or more (Swiss and foreign)
prosecutors are involved the civil parties lose control to a large extent. Sometimes less is more.
Foreign and Swiss counsel to a creditor have to coordinate their efforts: a successful attachment
procedure often depends on information obtained abroad, foreign proceedings often force a debtor
to agree to transfer assets seized in Switzerland to the creditor or a foreign court.
It is advisable to enclose in such a letter to a bank copies (translation) of foreign judicial orders or requests for
legal assistance.
For a detailed discussion of this so called "Geldwäscherei-Arrest" see JÜRG-BEAT ACKERMANN, Geldwäschereinormen
- taugliche Vehikel für den privaten Geschädigten?; in: Wiedererlangung widerrechtlich entzogener
Vermögenswerte mit Instrumenten des Straf-, Zivil-, Vollstreckungs- und internationalen Rechts (1999), pp. 3565. At the end of the day the criminal judge will determine the distribution of assets blocked by way of such a
Appendix 1
Translation of Articles 271-281 of the Swiss Debt Enforcement and Bankruptcy Law
Article 271
A. Grounds for a Freezing Order
The creditor may apply for an order freezing assets of the debtor with respect to an unsecured matured claim:
1. if the debtor has no fixed domicile;
2. if the debtor is concealing his assets, absconding or making preparations to abscond so as to
evade the fulfilment of his obligations;
3. if the debtor is passing through or belongs to the category of persons who visit fairs and markets, for claims which by their nature must be fulfilled at once;
4. if the debtor does not live in Switzerland, and none of the other grounds for a freezing order is
fulfilled, provided the claim has a sufficient connection with Switzerland or is based on an enforceable court judgment or on a recognition of debt pursuant to article 82 paragraph 1;
5. if the creditor holds a provisional or definitive certificate of shortfall against the debtor.
In the cases of numbers 1 and 2, a freezing order may also be made with respect to an unmatured
claim; the freezing order accelerates maturity.
Article 272
B. Granting of Freezing Order
The court at the place where the assets are situated makes a freezing order if the creditor shows
prima facie that:
1. he has a claim;
2. there exists a ground for a freezing order;
3. there are assets at hand belonging to the debtor.
If the creditor is domiciled abroad and does not designate a place for service in Switzerland, the
debt enforcement office is deemed place for service.
Article 273
C. Liability for Damage caused by Freezing Order
The creditor is liable to the debtor and third parties for damage suffered as a result of an unjustified freezing order. The judge may order him to furnish security.
The action for damages may also be filed with the court at the place where the freezing order was
Article 274
D. Contents of Freezing Order
The judge notifies the freezing order to an enforcement official or another official or employee for
The freezing order contains:
1. the name and address of the creditor and, if applicable, his representative, and of the debtor;
2. the claim in respect of which the freezing order is made;
3. the ground for the freezing order;
4. a specification of the assets to be frozen;
The English translation of STEVEN V. BERTY, Swiss Debt Enforcement and Bankruptcy Law (1997) is used.
mention of the creditor's liability and, if applicable, of the amount of security to be furnished.
Article 275
E. Execution of Freezing order
Articles 91 to 109 on the seizure of assets apply mutatis mutandis to the execution of freezing orders.
Article 276
F. Freezing Order Document
The official or employer entrusted with the execution of a freezing order draws up a document by
certifying the execution of the order on the freezing order itself, indicating which assets are frozen
and an estimate of their value, and hands it over at once to the debt enforcement office.
The debt enforcement office serves the creditor and debtor at once with a copy of the freezing order document and informs third parties whose rights are affected by the order.
Article 277
G. Furnishing of Security by Debtor
The debtor may continue to dispose freely of the frozen assets provided he furnishes sufficient security so that in the event of a seizure of assets or a declaration of bankruptcy either the frozen assets or other assets of equal value will be to hand. Such security may be furnished by way of deposit, joint and several guarantee or other, equivalent means.
Article 278
H. Objection to Freezing Order
Any person whose rights are affected by a freezing order may file an objection with the judge who
made the order within 10 days of learning thereof.
The judge hears the parties and gives judgment without delay.
An appeal to the upper judicial authority may be filed against the judgment within 10 days. New
facts may be pleaded.
Neither the objection nor the appeal prevent the freezing order from deploying its effects.
During objection and appeal proceedings the deadlines pursuant to article 279 do not run.
Article 279
I. Validation of Freezing Order
If the creditor had not already instituted enforcement proceedings or brought a court action prior
to applying for the freezing order, he must do so within 10 days of service of the freezing order
If the debtor files an objection, the creditor must, within 10 days of being informed thereof, either
apply for the objection to be set aside in summary proceedings, or file a court action to have his
claim confirmed. If the application in summary proceedings is rejected, the court action must be
filed within 10 days of the judgment.
If the debtor does not file an objection, or if an objection has been filed but set aside, the creditor
must apply for continuation of the proceedings within 10 days of the date when he is first entitled
to (article 88). Enforcement proceedings continue either with the seizure of assets of with bankruptcy, depending on the person of the debtor.
If the creditor has brought a court action for confirmation of his claim without previously instituting enforcement proceedings, he must do the latter within 10 days of notification of the judgment.
Article 280
K. Elapse
The freezing order elapses if the creditor:
1. fails to comply with the deadlines provided for by article 279;
2. withdraws the action or the enforcement application or allows them to elapse; or
3. loses the court action, once the judgment has become res judicata.
Article 281
L. Provisional Participation in Seizure of Assets
If after the drawing up of the freezing order document the frozen assets are seized in favour of a
third party before the creditor who was granted the freezing order is in a position to file an application for seizure, the latter is entitled by law to provisionally participate in such seizure.
The creditor may claim the costs incurred in obtaining the freezing order directly from the amount
realised for the frozen assets.
In all other cases a freezing order confers no privileges.
Appendix 2
Translation of Articles 166-175 of the Swiss Private International Law Statute
Eleventh Chapter: Bankruptcy and Composition
Art. 166
1. A foreign bankruptcy decree that was issued in the country of the debtor's domicile is recognized upon a motion by the foreign receiver in bankruptcy or by one of the creditors:
a) if the decree is enforceable in the country where it was issued;
b) if no grounds for denial under Article 25 PIL Statute exist; and
c) if the country where the decree was issued grants reciprocity.
2. If the debtor has a branch office in Switzerland, a procedure pursuant to Article 50 subsection 1
of the Federal Statute on Collection of Debts and Bankruptcy is permitted until the schedule of
claims takes force of law pursuant to Article 172 of this Statute.
Art. 167
1. A motion for recognition of a foreign bankruptcy decree must be brought before the competent
court at the location of the assets in Switzerland. Article 29 applies by analogy.
2. If assets are located in several places, the court first seized has jurisdiction.
3. Claims of the debtor in bankruptcy are deemed to be located at the domicile of his or her debtor.
Art. 168
As soon as a motion to recognize a foreign bankruptcy decree has been made, the court may, upon
petition of the movant, order conservatory measures pursuant to Articles 162-165 and 170 of the
Federal Statute on Collection of Debts and Bankruptcy.
Art. 169
1. The decision on the recognition of the foreign bankruptcy decree is published.
2. The recognition is communicated to the Office of Collection of Debts, the Office of Bankruptcy, the Land Register, and the Register of Commerce at the location of the assets, as well as,
depending on the case, to the Office for Intellectual Property. The same applies for closing, suspension and revocation of bankruptcy.
Art. 170
1. Unless otherwise provided by this Statute, the recognition of a foreign bankruptcy decree subjects the debtor's assets in Switzerland to the consequences of Swiss law.
2. The time limits under Swiss law start to run with the publication of the decision on recognition.
3. Neither an assembly nor a committee of creditors is formed.
The English translation of PIERRE A. KARRER / KARL W. ARNOLD / PAOLE MICHELE PATOCCHI, Switzerland's Private International Law (1994) is used.
Art. 171
Lawsuits for avoidance of undue preference are governed by Articles 285 to 292 of the Federal
Statute on Collection of Debts and Bankruptcy. They can also be brought by a foreign receiver in
bankruptcy or one of the creditors in bankruptcy hereto empowered.
Art. 172
1. In the schedule of claims only the following are entered:
claims secured by pledge pursuant to Article 219 of the Federal Statute on Collection of
Debts and Bankruptcy; and
claims not secured by pledge pursuant to Article 219 subsection 4 (first to fourth class) of
the Federal Statute on Collection of Debts and Bankruptcy, if the creditors are domiciled in
2. Only the creditors mentioned in subsection 1 may bring a lawsuit on the schedule of claims pursuant to Article 250 of the Federal Statute on Collection of Debts and Bankruptcy.
3. If a creditor has been partly satisfied in a foreign proceeding connected with the bankruptcy,
that amount must be credited after deduction of the costs towards the dividend in the Swiss bankruptcy proceedings.
Art. 173
1. Upon satisfaction of the creditors pursuant to Article 172 subsection 1 PIL Statute, the balance
is made available to the foreign receiver or to the empowered creditors in bankruptcy.
2. This balance may be made available only after the foreign schedule of claims has been recognized.
3. For the recognition of a foreign schedule of claims, jurisdiction lies with the Swiss court that
has recognized the foreign decree in bankruptcy. It examines in particular whether the claims of
creditors domiciled in Switzerland have been taken into account adequately in the foreign schedule of claims. These creditors must be heard.
Art. 174
1. If the foreign schedule of claims is not recognized, the balance must be distributed to the creditors domiciled in Switzerland in the fifth class of Article 219 subsection 4 of the Federal Statute
on Collection of Debts and Bankruptcy.
2. The same applies if the schedule of claims is not submitted for recognition within the time limit
set by the court.
Art. 175
A decree issued on the basis of a composition agreement or a similar proceeding by a foreign authority having jurisdiction is recognized in Switzerland. Articles 166-170 PIL Statute apply by
analogy. The creditors domiciled in Switzerland must be heard.
Appendix 3
Attachments in Switzerland: Selective Bibliography
Schuldbetreibung und Konkurs, 4. Aufl., Zürich 1997/99, Art. 271-281
GEIMER REINHOLD/SCHÜTZE ROLF A., Europäisches Zivilverfahrensrecht, Kommentar zum
EuGVÜ und zum Lugano-Übereinkommen, München 1997, Rz. 371 ff.
GILLIÉRON PIERRE-ROBERT, Commentaire de la loi fédérale sur la poursuite pour dettes et la faillite, Lausanne 2003, Art. 271-281
KROPHOLLER JAN, Europäisches Zivilprozessrecht, Kommentar zu EuGVO und Lugano-Übereinkommen, 7. Aufl., Heidelberg 2002, S. 83
REISER HANS, in: Staehelin Adrian/Bauer Thomas/Staehelin Daniel (Hrsg.), Kommentar zum
Bundesgesetz über Schuldbetreibung und Konkurs, SchKG III, Basel/Genf/München 1998, Art.
STOFFEL WALTER A., in: Staehelin Adrian/Bauer Thomas/Staehelin Daniel (Hrsg.), Kommentar
zum Bundesgesetz über Schuldbetreibung und Konkurs, SchKG III, Basel/Genf/München 1998,
Art. 271-274
AMONN KURT/WALTHER FRIDOLIN, Grundriss des Schuldbetreibungs- und Konkursrechts, 7.
Aufl., Bern 2003, § 51
FRITZSCHE HANS/WALDER HANS ULRICH, Schuldbetreibung und Konkurs nach schweizerischem
Recht, Band II, Zürich 1993, § 56-62
NÜNLIST GUIDO, Wegleitung zum neuen Schuldbetreibungs- und Konkursrecht, 4. Aufl.,
Bern/Stuttgart/Wien 1997, S. 127-133
SCHACK HAIMO, Internationales Zivilverfahrensrecht, 2. Aufl., München 1996, Rz. 239
SPÜHLER KARL/PFISTER SUSANNE B., Schuldbetreibungs- und Konkursrecht I, 2. Aufl., Zürich
1999, § 34
WALDER HANS ULRICH/JENT INGRID, Tafeln zum Schuldbetreibungs- und Konkursrecht, 5. Aufl.,
Zürich 1997
WALTER GERHARD, Internationales Zivilprozessrecht der Schweiz, 3. Aufl., Bern/Stuttgart/Wien
2002, S. 488 f.
Dissertations etc.
AFFENTRANGER-BRUNNER DORIS, Verarrestierbarkeit der Rechte des Kreditnehmers aus einem
Krediteröffnungsvertrag bei einer Bank, Diss. Zürich 1989
ALBRECHT PETER, Die Haftpflicht des Arrestgläubigers nach schweizerischem Recht unter
Ausschluss der Kautionspflicht gemäss SchKG 273 I, Diss. Zürich 1968
ARDINAY HENRY, Die Arrestprosequierung nach schweizerischem Recht, Diss. Zürich 1954
ARTHO VON GUNTEN YVONNE, Die Arresteinsprache, Diss. Zürich 2001
EILERS ANKE, Massnahmen des einstweiligen Rechtsschutzes im europäischen Zivilrechtsverkehr
- Internationale Zuständigkeit, Anerkennung und Vollstreckung, Diss. Bonn/Bielefeld 1990
GASSMANN RICHARD, Arrest im internationalen Rechtsverkehr, Schweizer Studien zum
internationalen Recht, Bd. 106, Diss. Zürich 1998
GICK-SCHLÄPFER CARLO, Die Mitwirkungspflichten von Drittpersonen im schweizerischen
Pfändungs- und Arrestverfahren, Diss. Zürich 1980
KIENLE CHRISTOPHER JULIAN, Arreste im internationalen Rechtsverkehr, Diss. Tübingen/Frankfurt
a.M. 1991
KÖPE KÁROLY CHRISTIAN, Zur Dogmatik des Arrestbewilligungsverfahrens, Diss. Zürich 1991
MATTMANN FRANZ, Die materiellen Voraussetzungen der Arrestlegung nach Art. 271 SchKG,
Diss. Freiburg 1981
MEIER ERNST, Die Sicherheitsleistung des Arrestgläubigers gemäss Art. 273 Abs. 1 SchKG, Diss.
Zürich 1978
PIEGAI JÉRÔME, La protection du débiteur et des tiers dans le nouveau droit du séquestre, Diss.
Lausanne 1997
REISER HANS, Gerichtsstandsvereinbarungen nach dem IPR-Gesetz, Diss. Zürich 1989
ROSSETTI SILVIO, Das schweizerische Arrestrecht und seine Reformbedürftigkeit, Diss. Freiburg
SCHINDLER JAKOB, Die Arrestaufhebung nach Art. 279 SchKG, Diss. Bern 1957
SCHMUTZ ANDREAS, Massnahmen des vorsorglichen Rechtsschutzes im Lugano-Übereinkommen
aus schweizerischer Sicht, Diss. Bern/Aachen 1995
STOLL DANIEL, Rechtsschutz des in einen Arrest einbezogenen Dritten, Diss. Zürich 1987
ACKERMANN HANS-PETER, Ausländerarrest (§ 917 Abs. 2 ZPO) bei Vollstreckung in einem
EuGVÜ-Staat?, Iprax 11/1991, S. 166 ff.
ATTESLANDER-DÜRRENMATT AGNES, Sicherungsmittel "à discrétion"? Zur Umsetzung von Art. 39
LugÜ in der Schweiz, AJP 2001, S. 180-197
BAECHLER YVES-MICHEL, La saisie et le séquestre des droits de l'ouverture de crédit auprès des
banquiers, SJZ 1981, S. 37-41
BAUMANN FLORIAN, Konkurrenz zwischen Staat und Zivilgläubiger beim Zugriff auf
strafrechtlich beschlagnahmtes Vermögen, SZW 1999, S. 113-124
BERNASCONI CHRISTOPHE/GERBER ALEXANDRA, Der räumlich-persönliche Anwendungsbereich
des Lugano-Übereinkommens, SZIER 1993, S. 39 ff.
BERNET MARTIN / VOSER NATHALIE, Praktische Fragen im Zusammenhang mit Annerkennung
und Vollstreckung ausländischer Urteile nach IPRG, SZIER 2000, S. 437-473, insbes. 455 f.
BLUMENSTEIN ERNST, Handbuch des Schweizerischen Schuldbetreibungsrechtes, Bern 1911
BRAND ERNST, Arrest I, Zweck, Voraussetzungen, SJK Nr. 740, 1942
BOTSCHAFT über die Änderung des Bundesgesetzes über Schuldbetreibung und Konkurs (SchKG)
vom 8. Mai 1991, BBl III 1 ff.
BREITSCHMID PETER, Übersicht zur Arrestbewilligungspraxis nach revidiertem SchKG, AJP 1999,
S. 1007 ff.
BREITSCHMID PETER, Arrest zur Sicherung eherechtlicher Ansprüche?, SJZ 1989, S. 168 ff.
BREITSCHMID PETER, Der Arrest wird vom Richter... bewilligt (Art. 272 Abs. 1 SchKG) - oder
auch nicht... - die gerichtliche Perspektive, Referat anlässlich des Intensivseminars Arrestrecht des
Instituts für Rechtswissenschaft und Rechtspraxis der Universität St. Gallen vom 10. Dezember
2001 im Hotel Marriott, Zürich
BRÖNNIMANN JÜRGEN, Feststellung des neuen Vermögens, Arrest, Anfechtung, in: Das revidierte
Schuldbetreibungs- und Konkursgesetz (SchKG), Schriftenreihe SAV Bd. 13, 1995, S. 119-146
BRÖNNIMANN JÜRGEN, Die Einrede des fehlenden neuen Vermögens im Arrestverfahren, Referat
anlässlich Tagung des Schweizerischen Instituts für Verwaltungskurse vom 7. Oktober 1999 in
Luzern zum Thema "Aktuelle Fragen aus dem Schuldbetreibungs- und Konkursrecht"
BRÜCKNER CHRISTIAN, Abwehr von Sucharresten, SJZ 1985, S. 317-322
CAMBI FAVRE-BULLE ALESSANDRA, La mise en oeuvre en Suisse de l'art. 39 al. 2 de la
Convention de Lugano, SZIER 1998, S. 335 ff.
DALLÈVES LOUIS, Ausländerarrest, in: Der Arrest im SchKG, Zürich 1989, S. 51-63
DALLÈVES LOUIS, Le séquestre de biens de personnes résidant à l'étranger, ZWR 1989, S. 368-378
DALLÈVES LOUIS, Arrest, Schweizerische Juristische Kartothek, Karte Nr. 740, Sektion XVIII,
DALLÈVES LOUIS, Problèmes recents relatifs au séquestre, SJ 1983, S. 545-555
EGLI JEAN-FRANÇOIS, Deux aspects internationaux du séquestre, de lege ferenda, in: Le droit de la
faillite internationale, 1986, S. 121-138
GAILLARD LOUIS, Le séquestre des biens du débiteur domicilié à l'étranger, in: Le séquestre selon
la nouvelle LP, Zürich 1997
GANI LUCIEN, Le "lien suffisant avec la Suisse" et autres conditions du séquestre lorsque le domicile du débiteur est à l'étranger (art. 271 al. 1er ch. 4 nLP), SJZ 1996, S. 227 ff.
GASSER DOMINIK, Das Abwehrdispositiv der Arrestbetroffenen nach revidiertem SchKG, ZBJV
130, 1994, S. 582-619
GASSMANN RICHARD, Die Arrestzuständigkeit, in: Karl Spühler (Hrsg.), Vorsorgliche
Massnahmen aus internationaler Sicht, Zürich 2000, S. 84-120
GILLIÉRON PIERRE-ROBERT, Le séquestre dans la LP révisée, BlSchKG 1995, Heft 4, S. 121-141
GILLIÉRON PIERRE-ROBERT, L'exequatur des décisions étrangères condamnant à une prestation
pécunière ou la prestaion de sûretées selon la Convention de Lugano, SJZ 1992, S. 117-129
GILLIÉRON PIERRE-ROBERT, Le séquestre investigatoire: mythe ou réalité?, ZSR 1987, S. 41-70
GILLIÉRON PIERRE-ROBERT, Une alerte centenaire, la volonté de restreindre le cas de séquestre de
l'art. 271 al. 1 ch. 4 LP, SJZ 1986, S. 121-127
GILLIÉRON PIERRE-ROBERT, Annulation de l'opposition et exéquatur, in: La revisione della legge
federale sulla esecuzione e sul fallimento, atti della giornata di studio del 9 ottobre 1995, Lugano
1995, S. 35
GUTZWILLER CHRISTOPH P., Die Vollstreckung gegenüber ausländischen staatlichen
Körperschaften, insbesondere in die «Währungsreserven» einer Zentralbank, ZSR 2/2002, S. 121136
HANISCH HANS, Internationale Arrestzuständigkeit und EuGVÜ, IPRax 1991, S. 215
JAMETTI GREINER MONIQUE, Der vorsorgliche Rechtsschutz im internationalen Verhältnis, ZBJV
1994, S. 649-677
JAMETTI GREINER MONIQUE, Überblick zum Lugano-Übereinkommen über die gerichtliche
Zuständigkeit und die Vollstreckung gerichtlicher Entscheidungen in Zivil- und Handelssachen,
ZBJV 1992, S. 42-76
JEANNERET VINCENT, Aperçu de la validation du séquestre sous l'angle de la nouvelle LPDF, in:
Le séquestre selon la nouvelle LP, Zürich 1997,
KLEINER BEAT, Ausländerarrest - Kompromiss zwischen Schuldnerverfolgung und Schädigung
der eigenen Wirtschaft, in: FS 100 Jahre SchKG, Zürich 1989, S. 371-381
KLEINER BEAT, Schweizerisches Arrestrecht und internationaler Handel, SJZ 1979. S. 217-223
KLEINER BEAT, Verarrestierung von Vermögenswerten, die auf den Namen Dritter lauten, SJZ
1982, S. 203-205
KOCH HARALD, Neuere Probleme der internationalen Zwangsvollstreckung einschliesslich des
einstweiligen Rechtsschutzes, in: Schlosser Peter (Hrsg.), Materielles Recht und Prozessrecht und
die Auswirkungen der Unterscheidung im Recht der Internationalen Zwangsvollstreckung,
Bielefeld 1992
KRAUSKOPF LUTZ, Arrest - Stand der Revisionsarbeiten, Schriftenreihe SAV, Band 4, Zürich
1989, S. 79 ff.
KREN KOSTKIEVICZ JOLANTA, Zustellung von Betreibungsurkunden, BlSchK 1996, S. 201 ff.
KROLL MARKUS J., Arrest von Wertrechten in Sammelverwahrung, SZW 1994, S. 244-250
KUSTER MATTHIAS, Der Arrestort bei Bank- und Postcheckkontoguthaben, SZW 6/2004, S. 413416
LEMBO SAVERIO, Le séquestre des comptes des succursales requis au siège de la banque: une porte
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LEUENBERGER CHRISTOPH, Lugano Übereinkommen: Verfahren der Vollstreckbarerklärung
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MARKUS ALEXANDER R., Lugano-Übereinkommen und SchKG-Zuständigkeiten: Provisorische
Rechtsöffnung, Aberkennungsklage und Zahlungsbefehl, Basel/Frankfurt a.M. 1996
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SCHWANDER IVO, Wann ist die gleichzeitige Arrestlegung auf Vermögen desselben Schuldners für
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