Switzerland agrees to draft law on return of smuggled funds

Switzerland has agreed to draft a law governing the return of funds smuggled out of Egypt by Mubarak regime figures after the 25 January revolution, said prosecutor general spokesperson Hassan Yassin on Friday.

Speaking to state-run news agency MENA, Yassin said the agreement came following negotiations between an Egyptian delegation and Swiss authorities.

Despite the agreement to draft the law, however, the Swiss court rejected Egypt's request to send back the funds in question, a judicial source told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Friday.

Switzerland is holding 700 million Swiss Francs (US$767 million) that were smuggled out of Egypt by the former regime.

A delegation headed by Judge Kamel Gerges, the head of the International Cooperation Bureau, traveled to Switzerland four days ago to discuss the recovery of the funds, the source said. The delegation included officials from the Ministry of Justice, the Illicit Gains Authority and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

Upon arrival, the delegation was surprised to hear that the court rejected the prosecutor general's request to return the funds.

During the visit Gerges submitted the proposal to the Swiss judiciary to draft a law governing the exchange of money smuggled between the two countries.

In December the Swiss federal criminal court ruled that the Egyptian authorities had not provided legal documents relevant to Swiss criminal procedures against the Mubaraks due to political instability.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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