Egypt has filed a lawsuit against the British Treasury to compel the institution to cooperate in returning funds siphoned out of the country by former President Hosni Mubarak and a number of his regime officials, said on Tuesday Assem al-Gohary, the chairman of the Illicit Gains Committee.
“There are GBP80 million [in Britain] and the British government should inform us on its status, irrespective of bank secrecy laws. Egypt and Britain signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption,” Gohary said.
He expressed surprise that Britain requested proof that Mubarak’s son owned an apartment and a company in Britain. “But we will complete the trials of those accused of corruption and provide all necessary documents in accordance with each country’s legal requirements,” he said.
Gohary is in the midst of briefing the Shura Council’s Economic Commission on which countries are cooperating with Egypt in this matter, and which are not.
Meanwhile, sources said that a judiciary committee is seeking all means to repatriate some CH410 million recognized by Switzerland as belonging to Mubarak and 18 members of his entourage. The committee is also awaiting a ruling by the Spanish judiciary to hand business tycoon Hussein Salem, his son and his daughter over to Egypt.
British Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt wrote on the website of the British Embassy in Egypt that returning stolen funds is an essential part of Britain’s response to the Arab Spring, and stressed close cooperation with the Egyptian authorities in this regard.
But Burt added that Cairo did not provide strong evidence for Britain to freeze Mubarak’s funds.
Britain has succeeded in persuading the 27 European Union countries to freeze siphoned funds if it was proven that they were stolen, adding that Britain is giving Egypt time to complete the relevant criminal proceedings, Burt claimed.
He rejected allegations that Britain turned down 30 applications for judicial cooperation submitted by the Egyptian authorities last year, saying that the British government accepted 17 of them and requested more supporting evidence for the rest.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm