Egyptian military for freezing assets of Mubarak aides
Cairo: Days after the toppling of the regime, the Egyptian military led government has asked US and European Union to freeze the assets of top henchmen of ousted Hosni Mubarak, but has remained mum on the bounty of the deposed president.
While the Obama administration has conveyed to Cairo that it is examining the request, EU ministers are meeting in Brussels to take a decision on the issue.
US State Department officials said that the administration had received request to freeze assets held by some senior officials in Mubarak`s regime, but have not received any request to freeze assets of the ousted president.
Egyptian as well as US officials refused to disclosed the identity of the individuals whose assets were being asked to be frozen and whether they included the sons of former Egyptian strongman.
Media reports have put the worth of Mubarak, who ruled Egypt with an iron hand for last 30 years, as anything between USD 60-70 billion, but banking experts say a more realistic estimate would be anything upto USD 5 billion.
Officials here quoted by the state media said a similar request had been sent to European Union`s big three – France, UK and Germany for freezing the assets of Mubarak`s top aides.
Britain`s Finance Minister George Osborne has put up a proposal before the EU that all 27-member states should strip the assets of closest associates of Mubarak.
Without naming anybody, al-Arabiya reported that riches accumulated by 6-7 Egyptians were being targeted, but not Mubarak himself.
In its first step, the new Egyptian authorities have imposed a travel bar on all former top officials of the Mubarak regime. The officials can only travel abroad after clearance by military or public prosecutor.
Switzerland, known to be a tax haven, has already ordered a freeze of any assets belonging to Mubarak and his entourage. The Swiss announced the ban within hours of the downfall of Mubarak.
EU is already considering a freeze of assets of the deposed Tunisian President Zine al Abidine Ben Ali, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague has proposed a similar action against Mubarak.
The move to freeze accounts of Mubarak`s aides comes as Arab media reports said that former Egyptian strongman had moved his family assets from European banks to institutions in Gulf region.
There are also reports that Mubarak who is officially stated to be still in Egypt, in the resort town of Sharam-al-Sheikh may seek asylum in the Emirates.A