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UK 'serious' about returning Egypt assets

Visiting foreign secretary William Hague says Britain remains committed to returning misbegotten assets smuggled abroad by Mubaraka era officials

Ahram Online, Tuesday 11 Sep 2012
William Hague
UK reiterates its stance on Mubarak assets during Hague's visit (Photo: Reuters)
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UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has said Britain remains willing to co-operate with Egypt in returning misbegotten assets and repatriating former officials.
 
Hague was speaking after his Tuesday morning arrival in Cairo and a meeting with Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi.
 
Egypt's Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said during a Tuesday press conference that there would be increased co-operation between the two countries with regards to the matter.
 
Hague, however, merely emphasised the importance of maintaining a friendly relationship between the two countries, which he said are in "constant discussions" over UK-based assets belonging to members of the Mubarak regime.
 
Earlier this month, a report by BBC Arabic claimed that millions of pounds sterling worth of assets belonging to 19 key officials from the former regime remain unfrozen in the United Kingdom.
 
The British government hit back, saying it had already frozen GBP85 million (around $133m) worth of assets and could only take further actions after criminal convictions.
 
The British Ambassador in Egypt, James Watt, joined the fray on Tuesday, saying that the UK was committed to returning all the Egyptian assets which had been stolen, and that it had taken action in line with European Union rules.
 
"The British government has said from the start that it is committed to returning to Egypt all those assets which have been stolen," Watt said in a statement.
 
"We need information and the results of Egyptian investigations in order to help us with our investigations. We need final court decisions from Egyptian courts about the crimes which are alleged to have occurred in Egypt."
 
Watt also confirmed previously-announced UK plans to send an expert to Egypt to help repatriate assets already frozen.
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