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Sunday, 17 November 2019

Mubarak-era tycoons charged with forming Swiss dirty money 'gang'

Former regime officials are under investigation by Swiss authorities as Egypt's money-chasing committee claims Mubarak sons have $340 million illicitly stored in the Alpine country

Ahram Online, Monday 17 Oct 2011
 Alaa and Gamal
Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's sons Alaa (L) and Gamal (Photo: Reuters)
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The sons of Egypt's former president, Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, have US$340 million illicitly stored in Switzerland, the judicial committee charged with retrieving Egypt's money abroad has announced.
 
Some $300 million of the total is said to be kept under Alaa's name.
 
The committee also announced that business tycoon and Mubarak confidant, Hussein Salem and his family have a fortune of LE24 billion ($4 billion) stashed outside Egypt, according to bank transfer records. 
 
Assem El-Gohary, head of the committee, said that icons of the former regime hid their fortunes abroad by establishing offshore companies that are not subject to money laundry regulations.
 
According to El-Gohary, the committee was able to obtain information on their practicse through cooperation with “international financial intelligence” agencies and top law offices abroad. To cut custs, committee members travelled abroad only once.
 
He added that the committee has other information and documents detailing the fortunes of regime members, but is refraining from announcing them to maintain secrecy, saying those who are trying to hide their wealth continuously manipulate their accounts. 
 
Swiss authorities are currently undertaking judicial investigations against Alaa Mubarak, former tourism minister Zoheir Garana, and business magnate Yassin Mansour on charges of money laundering and forming a "criminal gang organisation", according to El-Gohary.
 
He added that they are being investigated according to article 260 of the Swiss criminal code which renders punishable any person who has participated in an organisation that keeps its structure and collaborators secret and that seeks to commit criminal acts of violence or to obtain revenue by criminal means. 
 
If found guilty, the punishment for this crime can be up to five years in prison or a substantial fine.
 
Egypt’s government, represented in the committee, has appointed a Swiss law office to file Egypt’s civil claim in the case.
 
In the past six months, Hussein Salem, a hotel and oil tycoon, has liquified assets he and his family owns in several foreign countries and transferred them to offshore bank accounts.
 
Salem, who is the top shareholder in gas carrier East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), fled Egypt after 25 Jan and is currently facing money laundry charges in Spain. 
 
El-Gohary said that Egypt had formally requested the Spanish government repatriate Salem to Egypt.
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