Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has reportedly moved his family assets from European banks to institutions in Gulf region after Swiss authorities took steps to freeze his foreign accounts.
"We're aware of some urgent conversations within the Mubarak family about how to save these assets," a senior intelligence was quoted as saying by the state-run Iranian channel Press TV. "We think their financial advisers have moved some of the money around... If he had real money in Zurich, it may be gone by now," he said.
According to channel, former president is believed to have transferred a fortune to friendly Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The report comes after Swiss authorities have announced a freeze on Mubarak's bank accounts. Estimates of the former Egyptian President's fortune varies -- there is a widespread rumour that it worth as much as US $ 70 billion. However, US officials quote his family's wealth between US $ 2 billion and 3 billion, New York Times said.
Within hours of Mubarak's resignation on Friday, "Swiss officials ordered all banks in Switzerland to search for - and freeze - any asset of the former president, his family or close associates," it reported. After Mubarak's fall, there are growing calls for an accounting to begin and Egyptian opposition leaders have vowed to press for a full investigation into his finances. "Now we open all the files,"
"We will research everything, all of them: the families of the ministers, the family of the president, everyone." According to the report, his family was "woven" into the Egyptian economy. However, tracing Mubarak's money will be difficult since business in Egypt is largely conducted in secret among a small group connected to him. Critics have said following the privatisation of Egypt's economy in 1990s, Mubarak's family and other elite families have held stakes in the sale of state assets and in new business ventures. The article stated after former President's younger son Gamal left his job at Bank of America in London in mid-1990s, he joined forces with Egypt's largest investment bank. Today, he has a significant stake in a private equity company with interests throughout the Egyptian economy, from oil to agriculture to tourism, corporate records and interviews show.
"The corruption of the Mubarak family was not stealing from the budget, it was transforming political capital into private capital," Samer Soliman, a professor of political economy at American University in Cairo, said. It has also been rumoured that the family has vast real estate holdings. But the only property outside of Egypt that has emerged is the London townhouse at 28 Wilton Place in Knightsbridge where Gamal lived when he was an investment banker there, the report added.