Egyptian Minister of Justice, Ahmed Al-Zind, discussed with the Swiss Ambassador in Cairo Markus Leitner on Tuesday the recovery of former Mubarak regime figures’ frozen assets in Switzerland.
They both searched how to recover the funds, in light of the recent amendment of the illicit gains laws issued by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, state news agency MENA reported.
“The Egyptian government is completely willing to co-operate with its Swiss counterpart to recover its smuggled public funds after the 25 January uprising,” Al-Zind said.
He added that in case of any reconciliation with any of the accused business men, coordination with the Swiss government will be made so that the charged businessmen can repay their illicit gains to the Egyptian government, after which the ban on their accounts could be lifted.
However, Leitner believes the process of fund recovery is “complicated and will consume a lot of time; it is linked with a money laundering crime.” He called on serious and continuous collaboration between Egyptian and Swiss governments for recovering those funds.
The amendments were made by presidential decrees on the law number 64/1975 for illicit gains. They stated that a guardian must be appointed to preserve the value of the confiscated assets and to add any revenue of these assets to its owner or those included in the restriction order, after deducting 10% for the illicit gains authority.
“The new amendments are for the greater good of the economic status of the country, as they aim to strengthen and stabilise it,” Al-Zind said.
According to Al-Zind, the accused businessmen did not resort to reconciliation before the new amendments because of the penalties dropped on them at that time, where the new laws reassure them to reconciliation without fear of further penalties.
The reconciliation strategy to recover the funds sparked wide concerns from some citizens who believe that reconciliation, according to the amendments in the illicit gains law, is a chance for many charged businessmen, like Ahmed Ezz and Rashid Mohamed Rashid, to bail themselves out of their cases, where they will easily pay the penalties, and return to Egypt with clean hands.
Others see it as a normal action, after the Swiss government halted any further investigation in the Egyptian smuggled public fund case, due to lack of cooperation from the Egyptian government.
Reporting by Asser Osama