Mubarak delayed exit in order to move secret funds, say intel sources
February 14, 2011 4 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
One of the reasons why Egypt’s disgraced ex-president kept prolonging his rule amidst ferocious anti-government protests this month, was to transfer billions of dollars-worth of personal assets into bank accounts around the world. British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph quotes a “senior Western intelligence official” who claims that Hosni Mubarak’s fund managers began transferring his extensive fortune to numbered bank accounts during the first days of the popular revolution in Egypt. The intelligence official told The Telegraph that Western intelligence services were “aware of some urgent conversations” within the Mubarak family about how to best protect their fortune from Egyptian and international financial investigators. The Mubaraks may have thus pre-empted the freezing of their accounts in Zurich, which was announced by the Swiss government on Friday. In this, Hosni Mubarak appears to have learned from Tunisia’s former dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was forced to flee with his family to Saudi Arabia last month, without the benefit of his Swiss bank assets. The latter were frozen following an official request by the Tunisian government. In the case of Mubarak, whose vast $70 billion fortune is mostly managed by his son Gamal, it appears that most of his Swiss bank assets were moved to accounts in third countries in the days before his resignation and are thus “gone by now”, according to one US government official who spoke to The Telegraph on condition of anonymity. Pressure is also growing on the British government to move against the Mubarak family’s assets in the UK, which are said to be substantial. Mubarak’s wife, Suzanne, holds joint Egyptian-British nationality, and the couple’s two sons, Alaa and Gamal, are reportedly in possession of British passports. However, as of Sunday afternoon, British authorities had received no formal request from Cairo in connection with the former president’s fortune in the country. Meanwhile, the question remains of when or whether the Mubaraks will leave Egypt. There are unconfirmed reports that the couple are under house arrest in their family villa at the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh, where they are said to be staying.