Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak may be heading for even more troubled times. As public protests calling for his prosecution grow more violent, the publication of a new document claiming Mubarak and his family stole hundreds of billions of dollars from Egypt's coffers is sure to increase concerns.
In a document published in the Washington Post, Egypt's chief Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud wrote that Mubarak and his sons, Gamal and Alaa, may have violated laws prohibiting the “seizing of public funds and profiteering and abuse of power,” using complex business schemes to divert the assets to offshore companies and personal accounts.
Mahmoud notified the US and other governments around the world that former president Hosni Mubarak and his family may have hidden hundreds of billions of dollars worth of cash, gold and other state-owned valuables.
According to the Washington Post, the claims are the most sweeping to date against Mubarak. The sum of the assets alleged to be appropriated by the Mubarak family — more than $700 billion — far exceeds earlier estimates and might be wildly exaggerated. Previous figures for the amount allegedly stolen by the Mubaraks range from $1 billion to $70 billion.
The 12-page “Request for Judicial Assistance,” obtained by the Post, is intended to provide the legal basis under civil law to recover assets belonging to the Egyptian people from countries where the Mubaraks may have hidden assets and is dated from February 2011.
The Washington Post noted that the document mixes the credible with the questionable. Gamal Mubarak’s widely known role at one of the Arab world’s largest investment funds, EFG Hermes, has long fueled suspicion. But other statements appear to be supported only by hearsay witness testimony, secondhand news accounts, and, in two cases, by what apparently are fraudulent bank documents.
The US Embassy in Cairo issued a statement Friday and said officials were “vigorously pursuing all leads provided by the Egyptian Government with regard to freezing assets of former Egyptian officials… We are meeting regularly with Egyptian Ministry of Justice Officials to investigate any allegations that such assets have been deposited in the United States.”
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