UN to help Egypt get back stolen funds

The United Nations has offered to help Egypt recover its “smuggled and frozen” overseas funds taken from the country by fleeing former regime officials.

The UN said it would help liason with countries that had frozen accounts belonging to former authorities. The organization said it made the decision in response to popular pressure from Egypt’s citizens, understanding the problems the government faces in communicating with

In a statement to BBC Friday, Hossein Hassan, the project director for the fight against corruption the United Nations Office on drugs and corruption in the Middle East, said that the international organization was “ready to provide all the technical assistance and expertise to allow Egypt to recover the stolen funds.”

“If we are asked to provide mediation or to intervene, we will respond immediately,” Hassan said, adding that the UN has the necessary experience and  relations with other countries to return the money.

The Justice Ministry welcomed the UN’s help.

Assam al-Gohuri, assistant to the minister of justice and president of the parliamentary committee and to the illegitimate gains authority and president of the parliamentary committee for the recovery of Egyptian funds abroad, told BBC “there is nothing preventing the United Nations office of Drugs and Corruption from working with some countries.”

According to the BBC, Justice Ministry officials held meetings with their counterparts in Britain and Spain, during a workshop held recently in Cairo to discuss possible ways to assist the government in the restoration of frozen funds smuggled abroad.

Egypt has been trying to return money belonging to  former regime officials since President Hosni Mubarak left power last Feburary.

Accounts of a reported US$962 million have been frozen in Switzerland, but legal procedures abroad have bogged down the return.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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