Sunday,17 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1337, (23 - 29 March 2017)
Sunday,17 February, 2019
Issue 1337, (23 - 29 March 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Mubarak seeks to unfreeze assets

Former president Hosni Mubarak files a lawsuit in an attempt to gain access to frozen bank accounts

Mubarak seeks to unfreeze assets
Mubarak seeks to unfreeze assets

A Cairo court will begin hearing a lawsuit filed on 16 March by ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his sons Alaa and Gamal. The suit names the minister of justice and prosecutor-general, and seeks the return of LE61 million in personal assets.

Mubarak’s lawyer Farid Al-Deeb says the prosecutor-general’s 2011 order freezing the assets of Mubarak and his family “now stands in defiance of the law”.

The Central Clearing, Depository and Registry and East Cairo’s attorney-general are also named as defendants in the suit.

Central Clearing, Depository and Registry has been the legal custodian of shares held by Mubarak and his family since the prosecutor-general ordered the asset freeze following corruption charges filed against the former president soon after the 25 January uprising forced him from office.

Mubarak’s lawsuit was filed after the Court of Cassation — Egypt’s highest judicial authority — acquitted him on manslaughter and corruption charges on 2 March. On 13 March Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek ordered Mubarak be released from South Cairo’s Maadi Military Hospital.

Judicial sources said the freeze being imposed on the Mubarak family’s assets was kept in place because Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, are still being investigated by the Illicit Gains Authority (IGA).

“Experts affiliated with the IGA are still investigating the assets of the Mubaraks who accrued tremendous wealth that bears no relation to their declared sources of income,” said a judicial source on 16 March.

“The IGA, the Ministry of Justice and prosecutor-general all want the family’s wealth to remain under sequestration until a final decision is reached on whether or not the former president and his two sons are referred to trial on new corruption charges.”

After Mubarak was forced from office in February 2011 a freeze was imposed on his family’s wealth and a travel ban put in place.

“Although Mubarak has been acquitted of manslaughter charges and served all pending prison sentences he still can’t travel outside Egypt,” said the source.

Mubarak’s lawyer insists the frozen LE61 million in bank accounts “mainly belongs to his son Alaa”. According to Al-Deeb, “Mubarak’s wealth doesn’t exceed $1 million.”

Al-Deeb added, “there is no reason, now president Mubarak has been acquitted of all corruption charges and his two sons are free, that their assets should remain under sequestration.”

“President Mubarak has also settled all the money owed to Al-Ahram press establishment in the Al-Ahram gifts case. The two parties signed an agreement of reconciliation in 2014 following which Al-Ahram said it had regained all pertinent sums from Mubarak.”

“The prosecution authorities imposed a freeze on Alaa and Gamal’s shares in the Central Clearing Company without any legal foundation,” said Al-Deeb. “President Mubarak and his sons asked me to file a lawsuit to recover frozen assets which were confiscated illegally.”

Al-Deeb also told Al-Hayat TV that after the Court of Cassation acquitted Mubarak of manslaughter and corruption charges, the prosecutor-general sent an official letter to the Cairo Security Directorate demanding Mubarak be released. “The letter told the directorate that Mubarak had served all prison sentences, settled his financial obligations with Al-Ahram and that as a result he should be released immediately.”

Al-Deeb dismissed rumours that Mubarak intended to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform the omra. “The only thing the Mubarak family now wants is that president Mubarak return home.”

Mubarak, added his lawyer, doesn’t have “a single piaster in any foreign bank”.

Yet on Monday European news agencies reported the EU had agreed to extend to 2020 the freeze on assets owned by Mubarak and his two sons in European banks.

A source said the last freeze on assets held by the Mubarak family and 14 of their associates expired on 19 March.

“The EU decision to extend the asset freeze was made following a request by the Egyptian authorities. The foreign and justice ministries and the prosecutor-general had asked that the freeze on the assets of Mubarak and his family, as well as members of his regime, be extended on the grounds they continue to face lawsuits at home and abroad,” said the source.

Since being forced from office in 2011 Mubarak has been a defendant in numerous criminal cases. He has been found guilty of a single corruption charge.

In January 2016, the Court of Cassation upheld a three-year prison sentence against Mubarak and his two sons for misusing public funds — slated for the maintenance of presidential palaces — to upgrade private properties.

Following the verdict Mubarak’s sons, who had already spent more than three years behind bars pending investigations, were released.

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