Freeze Mubarak’s assets: Egypt govt to US

The Egyptian military led govt has asked US and European Union to freeze the assets of top henchmen of ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Last Updated: Feb 15, 2011, 15:51 PM IST

Cairo: Days after the toppling of the
regime, the Egyptian military led government has asked US and European Union to freeze the assets of top henchmen of ousted Hosni Mubarak, but has remained mum on the bounty of the deposed president.

While the Obama administration has conveyed to Cairo
that it is examining the request, EU ministers are meeting in
Brussels to take a decision on the issue.

US State Department officials said that the
administration had received request to freeze assets held by
some senior officials in Mubarak`s regime, but have not
received any request to freeze assets of the ousted President.

Egyptian as well as US officials refused to disclosed
the identity of the individuals whose assets were being asked
to be frozen and whether they included the sons of former
Egyptian strongman.

Media reports have put the worth of Mubarak, who ruled
Egypt with an iron hand for last 30 years, as anything between
USD 60-70 billion, but banking experts say a more realistic
estimate would be anything upto USD 5 billion.

Officials here quoted by the state media said a
similar request had been sent to European Union`s big three -
France, UK and Germany for freezing the assets of Mubarak`s
top aides.

Britain`s Finance Minister George Osborne has put up a
proposal before the EU that all 27-member states should strip
the assets of closest associates of Mubarak.

Without naming anybody, al-Arabiya reported that
riches accumulated by 6-7 Egyptians were being targeted, but
not Mubarak himself.
In its first step, the new Egyptian authorities have
imposed a travel bar on all former top officials of the
Mubarak regime. The officials can only travel abroad after
clearance by military or public prosecutor.

Switzerland, known to be a tax haven, has already
ordered a freeze of any assets belonging to Mubarak and his
entourage. The Swiss announced the ban within hours of the
downfall of Mubarak.
EU is already considering a freeze of assets of the
deposed Tunisian President Zine al Abidine Ben Ali, and
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has proposed a similar
action against Mubarak.

The move to freeze accounts of Mubarak`s aides comes
as Arab media reports said that former Egyptian strongman had
moved his family assets from European banks to institutions in
Gulf region.

There are also reports that Mubarak who is officially
stated to be still in Egypt, in the resort town of
Sharam-al-Sheikh may seek asylum in the Emirates.

PTI