Egypt bans travel by Mubarak and family, and freezes assets


People take part in a demonstration to ask EU countries to freeze the assets of former Egypt president Hosni Mubarak, on the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Feb. 18, 2011. .


Eric Piermont

Egypt has reportedly banned Hosni Mubarak and his family from traveling and frozen their assets, including money transfers, real estate, stocks and bonds in companies and banks.

The public prosecutor's office in Cairo said it has received several complaints about how Mubarak increased his wealth by illegitimate means in Egypt, according to a statement sent to Bloomberg.

On Feb. 21, Egypt's prosecutor general, Abdel Magid Mahmud, asked the foreign minister to request that the foreign assets of the former president and his family be frozen.

The prosecutor charged Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit with contacting foreign countries to seek the assets freeze.

Switzerland has frozen tens of millions of Swiss francs in assets belonging to members of the former Mubarak regime.

On Feb. 11, just an hour after Mubarak stepped down, Switzerland ordered its banks to search for any assets held by the former president or 13 other individuals, including his wife, his sons and several of his top ministers. Bern said Feb. 18 that it had blocked "several dozens of millions of francs" belonging to figures associated with Mubarak.

Mubarak submitted a financial disclosure statement to judicial authorities Feb. 20, as he routinely does, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported on Feb. 20. At the time, an unidentified representative of the former president denied media reports about the size of Mubarak’s wealth and about accounts and properties he held abroad.

Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11 after 30 years as president following a popular revolt. Egypt’s army has dissolved the parliament and suspended the constitution pending elections.

Media reported several weeks ago that the Mubarak family fortune could be as high as $70 billion, much of it in Swiss banks or tied up in real estate in New York, Los Angeles and London.

The $70 billion would put the 82-year-old comfortably ahead of Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helu, worth about $53.5 billion, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the richest American with $53 billion.

According to Princeton political science professor Amaney Jamal, quoted by ABC, Mubarak’s three-decade rule in Egypt had kept him in a perfect spot to get a piece of any government action.

Corruption of the Egyptian political and economic system was one of the main grievances of the protesters that brought down Mubarak, fueling social unrest and demands for wage increases

The state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, meanwhile, reported that the Mubarak family had "secret accounts in Egyptian banks," including deposits of $147 million for his wife Suzanne and $100 million each for his sons, according to Agence France-Presse.