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New committee formed to recover Egypt's stolen assets: Source

European banks may have helped split misbegotten funds between bank accounts belonging to members of Egypt's former regime, says a ministry of justice source

Ahram Online, Wednesday 24 Aug 2011
Old regime
Many ministers under Mubarak are suspected to have stolen assets overseas
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The Ministry of Justice is considering forming a committee to trace and recover Egyptian assets moved overseas by members of the old regime, reports Al-Ahram Al-Massai newspaper, citing a well-placed source.

The paper cited the source's claims that some European banks and financial institutions have split bank accounts belonging to members of ex-president Mubarak's former regime to help these hide their potentially misbegotten wealth.

The same source added that these banks have methods to follow the assets after they are fragmented but that investigators have extreme difficulty in finding the funds, count the money and calculate interest rates.

The committee won’t be the first, as another one previously formed by the justice ministry failed to produce satisfying results. The ministry is said to be considering enlarging the committee to include other government departments.

Questions about the fortune of Mubarak and his family were raised during the Egyptian revolution after the Guardian published an article estimating Mubarak's family fortune could be as much as US$70 billion, according to analysis by Middle East experts.

"Much of this wealth is in British and Swiss banks or tied up in real estate in London, New York, Los Angeles and along expensive tracts of the Red Sea coast," said the article. However there is no proof whether those figures are correct, with other estimates starting at just $2 billion.

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