CAIRO: The Swiss Attorney General Office is currently analyzing the legal situation of former President Hosni Mubarak’s frozen assets, as the Egyptian government has opened the door for unfreezing the smuggled money through passing new amendments to the Illicit Gains Authority (IGA) law, the Swiss Foreign Ministry told The Cairo Post via email Wednesday
The former president, along with his two sons Gamal and Alaa, and Egyptian business tycoon Salem were acquitted of wasting public funds by exporting gas to Israel at a below-market price Nov. 29. In June, a challenge against the acquittal was rejected by the Court of cassation that accepted another challenge against Mubarak and his former minister of Interior Habib al-Adly over killing peaceful protesters in January 20111 uprising and set the retrial for Nov.5.
Upon a request from Egypt, the Swiss government has frozen an estimated 650 million francs ($664 million) was smuggled out of Egypt during Mubarak’s era to Switzerland, Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesperson Pierre-Alain Eltschinger told The Cairo Post Nov. 1.
In June, the Swiss Foreign Minister Yves Rossier said in remarks to a group of Egyptian journalists in Switzerland that in case that Mubarak were acquitted, the money could be reclaimed to Egypt, Youm7 reported. A few days later, the Egyptian Ministry of Justice received a letter from the Swiss OAG says that Switzerland stopped part of investigation into the Mubaraks’ case of frozen assets, an Egyptian official told Youm7.
However, the Egyptian government passed Sunday new amendments, by which the state could reconcile with statesmen charged with smuggling public money abroad by repaying the government money smuggled in exchange for dropping the charges he faces.
Reconciliation should be conducted between the government and the defendants investigated by the IGA; in case the reconciliation reached, the government can submit a request to countries to unfreeze defendants’ smuggled assets, former judge of Cairo Court of Appeals Refaat al-Sayyed told The Cairo Post Wednesday.
Al-Sayyed added that abatement of the legal case comes in the same level of the acquittal. As the Mubaraks have been sued before the IGA over charges of profiteering and misusing public money, reconciliation could lead the way of unfreezing their assets.
A total number of businessmen and statesmen who submitted reconciliation requests in one day reached seven people, offering 10 million EGP (around $1.2 million) for dropping criminal charges against them, Youm7 reported. The IGA is considering more than 900 illicit gain cases with represents more than 105 billion EGP (about $13.4 billion) smuggled by Mubarak-era figures.
Previously, the four Mubarak-era figures include tycoon Hussein Salem, former Minister of Trade and Industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid, and two others submitted reconciliation requests.
Over $ 1.5 billion in funds have been smuggled outside Egypt to several European countries, former Assistant Minister of Justice for Illicit Gains Affairs Youssef Othman said in an interview with CBC channel in November.