File photo of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (Photo: Reuters)
The Swiss Federal Council announced on Wednesday it has lifted a freeze on the assets of former President Hosni Mubarak, saying the “realistic prospects of the restitution of these assets no longer exist within the framework of mutual legal assistance.”
According to the statement, with “the recent closing of the mutual legal assistance procedures between Switzerland and Egypt, the Federal Council decided to lift with immediate effect the freeze on assets in the context of this country.”
The statement said that the frozen assets in Switzerland of Mubarak and other Egyptian officials who faced criminal charges were initially estimated at $700 million in 2011.
However, this figure was reduced to $437 million “following the delisting of names from the ordinance at the request of the Egyptian authorities, who have in the meantime concluded reconciliation agreements in Egypt.”
“Together with several acquittals and classification decisions, these agreements contributed to the decision of the Egyptian judiciary to drop criminal proceedings in the most prominent cases with possible links to assets frozen in Switzerland... despite the joint efforts undertaken, the cooperation between the two countries has failed to produce the anticipated results,” the statement said.
"The freeze on the Egyptian assets on the basis of the [Foreign Politically Exposed Persons] FIAA therefore has no further purpose as defined by law and in jurisprudence, which the Federal Council noted when lifting it with immediate effect," the statement added.
"This decision, however, will not result in the release of these assets (approx. CHF 430 million). They remain sequestered within the framework of criminal proceedings in Switzerland being conducted by the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland for the purpose of determining whether or not their origin is licit."
In January 2016, Mubarak and his sons lost a final appeal on a conviction of embezzling public funds.
Mubarak and his two sons were found guilty of embezzling $7 million in public funds originally allocated for the upkeep of presidential buildings, and were sentenced to three years in prison.