The Swiss justice authorities will be asking for Egypt’s support in their criminal investigation into funds linked to the entourage of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
In a statement on Friday, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said that it was seeking assistance in obtaining evidence of possible predicate offences to money laundering – in other words, ones committed in order to lay the ground for subsequent offences.
The office has thoroughly analysed the Egypt case and priority has been accorded to establishing the facts and the relationships between the persons under investigation – all Egyptian nationals associated with Mubarak – and to analysing bank accounts and flows of financial assets, the statement continued.
“The cooperation of the Egyptian judicial authorities is vital since the alleged criminal acts or predicate offences to money laundering took place almost exclusively in Egypt,” the office said.
The office will be contacting the Egyptian authorities within the next couple of days.
It is also addressing pending requests for mutual legal assistance from Egypt by stepping up “the reconciliation of requests with the legal systems of both countries”.
“In view of the complexity and importance of this matter, coordinated cooperation is imperative and the support of the Egyptian authorities decisive for the success of the Swiss proceedings,” added the communiqué.
Switzerland reacted swiftly in February 2011 to freeze funds belonging to Mubarak’s family and his political aides. The monies held total CHF700 million ($774 million).
Under Swiss law, other nations are generally required to provide information about possible criminal wrongdoing to start unblocking any frozen assets. The money is usually locked up for three years and during that time governments must meet Swiss requirements such as providing information of any financial crimes that could be prosecuted on Swiss soil.
In December the government announced that it would freeze the Egyptian assets – as well as CHF60 million linked to Tunisia’s former autocrat, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali – for another three years in order to provide more time for criminal investigations into the origin of these assets.
swissinfo.ch and agencies