After Mubarak`s death Egyptians demand answers about assets abroad

After the death of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians have started to talk again about the funds that were smuggled out of the country and into bank accounts across Europe and the US. Journalists, activists, and academics have reprinted press reports and official and international statements about the Mubarak family’s wealth abroad. After the January 2011 revolution, several reports spoke of the Mubarak family’s wealth, and some estimates reached nearly $70 billion, including $31 billion in the United States alone.

The British newspaper the Guardian reported on February 4 2011 that the Mubarak family’s wealth amounted to $70 billion and that it was distributed across British and Swiss bank accounts and poured into real estate in London, New York, and Los Angeles. In the aftermath of the January revolution, Switzerland announced in November 2011 that it had frozen nearly $767 million owned by 31 figures from the Mubarak regime and his family, while Britain had frozen $135 million. However, neither Spain, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Canada nor France took similar measures against Mubarak’s money.

Although Egypt signed the anti-corruption agreement in 1992, the Egyptian authorities have not succeeded in recovering these funds nine years on since Mubarak’s ouster, especially since Swiss law stipulates the necessity of a judicial conviction that proves the funds in the accounts are illegal. According to local reports, Egypt formed several committees to recover the smuggled money starting in 2011. Those committees spent nearly EGP 500,000,000 ($32 million) without the Egyptians seeing any benefits, according to an interrogation of MP Mustafa al-Jundi in parliament in December 2017. Because Egypt did not issue final court rulings against Mubarak, in December 2017 Switzerland decided to cancel the freezing of assets belonging to Mubarak and his regime. Although Mubarak was convicted in a corruption case known as the presidential palaces, and he was sentenced to three years in prison along with his sons, none of the money smuggled out of Egypt has been recovered. Experts say, “getting money back is done in two ways. The first is specified in the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2005, with articles (57, 55, 54).”

The aforementioned agreement set out the mechanisms necessary to recover looted funds smuggled abroad on the condition that a court ruling is issued and that the prosecutor then submits a request to the United Nations to return it in accordance with the agreement. The second method is The Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) issued by the World Bank and the United Nations in 2008, to facilitate the governments of developing countries to recover looted funds transferred by corrupt presidents to rich countries.