`Mubarak moves assets from European banks to Gulf states`

Ousted Egyptian President has reportedly moved his family assets from European banks to institutions in Gulf region.

Updated: Feb 14, 2011, 23:07 PM IST

New York: Ousted Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak has reportedly moved his family assets from European
banks to institutions in Gulf region after Swiss authorities
took steps to freeze his foreign accounts.

"We`re aware of some urgent conversations within the
Mubarak family about how to save these assets," a senior
intelligence was quoted as saying by the state-run Iranian
channel Press TV.

"We think their financial advisers have moved some of
the money around... If he had real money in Zurich, it may be
gone by now," he said.

According to channel, former president is believed to
have transferred a fortune to friendly Arab states, including
the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The report comes after Swiss authorities have
announced to freeze his bank accounts. Estimates of the former
Egyptian President`s fortune varies, there is a widespread
rumour that it worth as much as USD 70 billion. However, US
officials quote his family`s wealth between USD 2 billion and
3 billion, New York Times said.

Within hours of Mubarak`s resignation on Friday,
"Swiss officials ordered all banks in Switzerland to search
for - and freeze - any asset of the former president, his
family or close associates," it reported.

After Mubarak`s fall, there are growing calls for an
accounting to begin and Egyptian opposition leaders have vowed
to press for a full investigation into his finances.
"Now we open all the files," George Ishak, head of the
National Association for Change, an opposition umbrella group,
said. "We will research everything, all of them: the families
of the ministers, the family of the president, everyone."

According to the report, his family was "woven" into
the Egyptian economy.

However, tracing Mubarak`s money will be difficult
since business in Egypt is largely conducted in secret among a
small group connected to him.

Critics have said following the privatisation of
Egypt`s economy in 1990s, Mubarak`s family and other elite
families have held stakes in the sale of state assets and in
new business ventures.

The article stated after former President`s younger
son Gamal left his job at Bank of America in London in
mid-1990s, he joined forces with Egypt`s largest investment
bank. Today, he has a significant stake in a private equity
company with interests throughout the Egyptian economy, from
oil to agriculture to tourism, corporate records and
interviews show.

"The corruption of the Mubarak family was not stealing
from the budget, it was transforming political capital into
private capital," Samer Soliman, a professor of political
economy at American University in Cairo, said.

It has also been rumoured that the family has vast
real estate holdings.

But the only property outside of Egypt that has
emerged is the London townhouse at 28 Wilton Place in
Knightsbridge where Gamal lived when he was an investment
banker there, the report added.