Swiss authorities close investigation into syphoned money of Mubarak regime figureheads

The office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) announced on Wednesday that it closed investigations related to the ‘Egyptian Revolution’ over suspicion of money laundering conducted against five suspects.

Since 2011, OAG has been conducting criminal proceedings related to the 2011 ‘Egyptian Revolution’, its key case arising from the Arab Spring.

“Despite the numerous enquiries and having transferred CHF 32 million to Egypt in 2018, the OAG must now accept that the investigation has been unable to substantiate suspicions that would justify the indictment of anyone in Switzerland or any forfeiture of assets,” OAG said in a press release.

It added that “the proceedings, currently being conducted against five suspects, are therefore to be abandoned, and the assets still under seizure (amounting to around CHF 400 million) will be released.”

OAG has since 2011 been conducting an investigation into suspicions of money laundering and supporting and/or participating in a criminal organisation in connection with events surrounding the ‘Egyptian Revolution’ in 2011.

This complex and extensive criminal case initially involved 14 suspects, including the two sons of the ousted president Hosni Mubarak (Gamal and Alaa Mubarak), as well as 28 natural persons and 45 legal entities who, as third parties, hold assets that have been seized. In addition, 140 bank accounts of interest have been analysed.

The suspects, most of whom held official or important economic positions in Egypt, were suspected of having laundered funds in Switzerland of criminal origin that had been obtained from financial transactions related to acts of corruption. Several criminal proceedings were opened in Egypt and requests for mutual assistance addressed to Switzerland in this connection.

Between 2012 and 2019, the OAG sent numerous requests to Egyptian authorities in order to obtain information on the status of prosecutions and judicial or criminal proceedings, primarily those being conducted against persons implicated in the Swiss proceedings. Egypt responded to most of these requests.

For its part, Egypt sent several requests for mutual legal assistance to Swiss authorities with the aim of obtaining evidence that would enable progress to be made in the Egyptian criminal proceedings. The OAG cooperated as fully as possible, in particular by admitting Egypt as a complainant in the Swiss criminal proceedings in 2011.

In response to certain requests, supplementary information was sought from Egypt. As this information was not received, certain mutual legal assistance proceedings could not be completed and were closed in 2017 – either by the OAG or by the FOJ. In the circumstances and in view of the lack of any realistic prospects of the restitution of these assets, the freezing of the assets ordered by the Federal Council no longer served any purpose. In December of the same year, the Federal Council repealed the ordinance freezing assets in connection with Egypt (SR 196.123.21).

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