Switzerland has frozen additional assets of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his associates, increasing the total to around $700 million (SFr688 million), the Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed.
Previously, the amount of cash frozen in Swiss bank accounts belonging to the dictator’s family and associates was reported to be an estimated $415 million.
An additional $290 million in frozen assets were uncovered by the Swiss authorities in close cooperation with the Egyptian authorities, Jeannette Balmer, spokeswoman for the Prosecutor’s Office, informed swissinfo.ch in a written statement on Thursday.
The Egyptian government has asked Swiss authorities for help in identifying and recovering money on three separate occasions since Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, Balmer said.
In August 2011, Egyptian authorities had officially requested the Prosecutor’s Office’s help recovering assets they suspected were held in Swiss banks. They believed that the dictator’s sons Alaa and Gamal had stashed an estimated $348 million in Swiss accounts.
In May 2012, the federal prosecutor launched criminal proceedings against 12 people - including members of Mubarak’s family and close associates - following accusations of money laundering and participation in organised crime. The Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona confirmed Egypt’s right to be a plaintiff in the proceedings.
The goal of the close partnership between the Swiss and Egyptian authorities is to identify and return to Egypt any funds found to have been obtained illegally, Balmer told swissinfo.ch.
Since the start of Arab uprisings last year, Switzerland has also blocked funds stashed in its banks linked to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, former Tunisian president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.