New York: Funds belonging to the family
of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and the former
senior ministers of his regime have been discovered in
Switzerland, a Swiss government official said.
However, the official did not specify the amount of
money or who controlled the account, The New York Times
"The first traces have been identified. At the end of
the week, we might have a better picture." said the Swiss
official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The disclosure came as the new military-led Egyptian
government had asked countries to freeze the assets of
government officials in the previous regime.
Egyptian opposition members had expressed fear that
the military would shield Mubarak, a former air force chief,
and his relatives from an investigation, the NYT said.
After Mubarak stepped down, the Swiss government
immediately froze his assets and it plans to send the money
back to Egypt, according to a Time Magazine report.
A statement from the Swiss government said that
quick action on Mubarak`s money was taken "to avoid any
misappropriation of Egyptian government assets".
Swift action was possible due to a new legislation,
The Restitution of Illicit Assets Act (RIAA), which allows the
government to immediately freeze and confiscate the funds of
politically exposed persons even if the implicated nation has
not asked for the money back.
The legislation, which went into effect on February 1,
makes it difficult for corrupt political leaders to open
accounts in Switzerland or lay claim to the assets hidden
"Normally, a foreign country lodges an official
request when it seeks to find and freeze the illegally
obtained assets of one of its corrupt officials," said James
Nason, spokesman for the Swiss Banking Association (SBA), an
umbrella group for the country`s financial institutions.
"This Act was designed to deal with situations
involving countries that have no functioning legal system and
can`t competently follow through with any judicial procedure,"