Mubarak funds will be returned to Egypt only if proven to be illicit gains: Swiss attorney-general

Ahram Online , Saturday 16 Jan 2016

The Swiss official
Swiss attorney General Michael Lauber (Photo: Reuters)

Switzerland cannot start the retrieval process from Swiss banks for the frozen assets of Egyptian ex-president Hosni Mubarak without verifying they were obtained through embezzling public funds, Swiss attorney-general Michael Lauber said on Saturday.

"We are currently analysing the recently issued sentences, and if we do not find a direct correlation between the verdict and the funds in Switzerland we cannot return the money," said Lauber at a Cairo press conference during his visit to hold talks on the issue with his Egyptian counterpart Nabil Sadiq.

"The whole issue is really complicated and I do not have an estimate for when we can give our final say on the matter," he added.

Last week, Mubarak and his two sons Alaa and Gamal lost an appeal on a conviction for embezzling public funds.

In an initial verdict in May 2014, the trio were fined a total of LE125 million and required to pay an additional LE21 million to the state.

Mubarak is the first Egyptian president to stand trial and be convicted of corruption, with the guilty verdict now being final and cannot be further challenged.  

Based on initial estimates by the Swiss government, the total amount of assets of the Mubarak regime in Swiss banks is around CHF 650 million, or nearly $698 million (LE5 billion).

In June 2015, Valentin Zellweger, the director of the taskforce on asset recovery at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), stated that the Swiss government required evidence from an Egyptian court proving that the funds deposited in Swiss banks were obtained through illicit means, whether by corruption, embezzlement or money laundering.

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