London: Britain`s fraud investigation
agency has launched a hunt to identify the millions of pounds
in money and assets secretly stashed in the country by deposed
Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and his family, a media report
said on Satuerday.
Mubarak`s family fortune is thought to be at least 1.5
billion pounds, and is thought to be held in British and Swiss
banks and tied up in property in London, New York and Los
Angeles, according to The Sunday Times.
The Serious Fraud Office is now investigating the
assets of Mubarak`s family in the UK.
One of the assets being investigated is a private
equity company in Belgravia, west London which has been linked
to Mubarak`s sons, Gamal and Alaa, the report said.
Quoting an expert on Mubarak`s regime, the report
said moves were underway in London to file court petitions to
freeze family assets.
Like the Swiss, the British are concerned that the
assets be identified in case the funds came from illicit
Responding to reports that assets were secretly held
in London by the family of Mubarak and that of Zine Ben Ali,
the deposed Tunisian president, SFO director Richard Alderman
told the newspaper: "The public would expect us to be looking
for some of this money if we became aware of it, and to try to
repatriate it for the benefit of the people of these
Mubarak`s wife, Suzanne, is the daughter of a Welsh
nurse who married an Egyptian doctor.
The family members are regular visitors to Britain.
In fact, Gamal, 47, once lived and worked in London and is
said to regard Britain as his second home.
In 1996 he set up an investment vehicle, Medinvest
Associates, which is based in Sloane Street, central London.
Medinvest then set up Horus, Egypt`s first offshore
private equity fund.
The USD 54 million (34 million pounds) fund was aimed
to invest in Egyptian public sector organisations that were
being privatised by the Mubarak senior.
Mubarak was forced to step down as President of the
African country after a mass uprising swept the streets
demanding an end to his 30-year-rule. He left Cairo on
February 11 for his residence in the Red Sea resort of
Sharm-al-Sheikh but his whereabouts are not exactly known now.
According to a report in The Sunday Telegraph, Mubarak
used the 18 days it took for protesters to topple him to shift
his vast wealth into untraceable accounts overseas.
Quoting western intelligence sources, the report said
his wealth was reportedly tied up in foreign banks,
investments, bullion and properties in London, New York, Paris
and Beverly Hills.
On Friday night, Swiss authorities announced they were
freezing any assets Mubarak and his family may hold in the
country`s banks, while pressure was growing for Britain to do
A senior Western intelligence source claimed that
Mubarak had begun moving his fortune in recent weeks.
"We`re aware of some urgent conversations within the
Mubarak family about how to save these assets," the source
told the newspaper.
"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."
According to the newspaper, a US official said
"There`s no doubt that there will have been some frantic
financial activity behind the scenes. They can lose the homes
and some of the bank accounts, but they will have wanted to
get the gold bars and other investments to safe quarters."