Egypt’s PM forms new committee to reclaim gov’t assets smuggled abroad
Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab - REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

CAIRO: Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab issued Sunday a decision to form a new committee for reclaiming state funds smuggled abroad, according to a statement from the Cabinet.

Minister of Justice Mahfouz Saber, who is visiting Switzerland to discuss money embezzled there during the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, was appointed to chair the new “National Coordinating Committee for Reclaiming Egyptian Smuggled Money and Egyptian Assets Abroad,” the statement added.

The nine-member committee also includes Deputy Minister of Justice for Illicit Gains Affairs Youssef Othman, Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Unit Director Adel al-Sayeed and representatives from the International and Cultural Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Justice.

The committee has the right to appoint other specialists and experts, the statement continued. A committee meeting will be held once monthly and submit to the Cabinet a periodic report every three months.

According to Mahlab’s decision, an old committee formed by former Prime Minister Hisham Qandil in 2012 with a similar task will be cancelled.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in 2011 assigned Essam el-Gohary to be the first judge investigating money smuggled abroad.

Saber and Attorney General Hisham Barakat began a three-day visit to Switzerland to participate in the third Arab Forum on Asset Recovery (AFAR III) Saturday.

“On Saturday the President of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter, opened the ministerial segment of the forum, which is being held at the International Conference Centre of Geneva (CICG). In his speech Mr. Burkhalter pointed out that the restitution of potentates’ assets had never occupied such an important place in the international arena before the Arab transitions began. Nor, he said, had coordination between the countries concerned ever been carried out as closely or at such an early stage,” said a statement issued from the Foreign Ministry of Switzerland Saturday.

Othman said on the sideline of the Swiss forum Egypt is negotiating with the Swiss to reclaim $1.5 billion smuggled out of Egypt during the Mubarak era, Al-Akhbar newspaper reported Sunday.

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