UK ‘failing’ to freeze assets of Mubarak regime
London: The British government is failing in its commitment to freeze assets of ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak’s regime, an investigation has revealed.
Reports that Mubarak and his inner circle stole tens of billions of dollars fuelled the revolution, which overthrew him on February 11, 2011.
Three days later, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain would co-operate with an Egyptian government request to freeze the assets of several former officials.
But it was a further 37 days before Britain and other EU states applied the sanctions, a period when Egypt says the accused officials were able to move their money elsewhere.
According to a report by the BBC, publicly available documents showed property and companies linked to key figures in the Mubarak circle that have been unaffected by sanctions.
The publicly accessible Companies House register revealed that one of those named on the sanctions list, Naglaa al-Ghazaerly, wife of the former housing minister, was able to register a company in her own name in London in November 2011, seven months after her assets were ordered to be frozen.
Another similar document showed that a London investment firm Medinvest Associates, co-founded by Mubarak's younger son Gamal, and still belonging to a Cypriot firm he helped run, continued operating until it dissolved itself, voluntarily, this year, the report said.
According to the report, Egyptian officials accuse the UK of hiding stolen wealth and breaching international anti-corruption accords.
The UK has accepted official requests from Egypt for legal assistance to help trace and freeze assets, the report said.
But Egypt says the UK is asking for more information before it can proceed further, information Cairo says it does not have.