Swiss reasons for suspending cooperation in Mubarak asset inquiry groundless: Egypt’s prosecution

The office of Egypt’s prosecutor-general on Sunday described as “groundless” the reasons given by the Swiss attorney general’s office for suspending their legal cooperation with Egypt over efforts to restore the family assets of former President Hosni Mubarak.

In an official statement issued on Sunday, the Egyptian office said that the reasons given aimed to evade a newly implemented Swiss law that would allow Egypt to repatriate the funds, which were acquired by the Mubarak family through corruption and stored in Swiss banks.

According to the statement, during an earlier meeting with Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek, the Swiss attorney general discussed the suspension of legal cooperation for two reasons.

The first was that the Swiss justice ministry did not send the Egyptian judicial assistance requests to the Swiss attorney general’s office, allegedly due to lack of legal basis, as the Swiss justice ministry claimed no connection between the investigations in Switzerland and the persons under investigation in Egypt.

The second reason was that, although the Swiss justice ministry did forward Egyptian requests on other individials in question to the Swiss attorney general’s office, the latter decided they lacked legal basis as some of the individuals had already been acquitted in Egyptian courts.

Among the forwarded requests were ones on Suzan Thabet Mubarak, Alaa Mubarak, Heidy Raskh, Gamal Mubarak, Ahmed Ezz, Khadija Yassien, Alaa Salama, Shahinaz El-Nagar, Ahmed Ahmed Ezz and Zohair Garna, according to the statement.

“Those reasons are untrue, as there are still investigations regarding the persons in question. Besides, there are no reconciliation deals with the individuals in question and they are either being investigated or standing trial up till now,” said the the statement of the prosecutor’s office, adding that Egypt sent their Swiss counterpart a list of names of individuals who had reconciled with the Egyptian government.

The Egyptian prosecution added that there were final convictions concerning some of the individuals in question, and the Swiss attorney general was informed of these, including the conviction of former President Hosni Mubarak and his sons Alaa and Gamal in the case known in the media as the “presidential palaces case.”

In the May 2015 verdict, a Cairo criminal court sentenced ousted President Mubarak and his sons to three years in jail for embezzlement of public funds. In January 2016, the cassation court rejected the defendants’ appeals.

The Egyptian prosecution also listed in its statement other Mubarak regime members convicted in the past few years.

In December 2016, the cassation court upheld a prison sentence issued in September 2015 for Mubarak’s former minister Ibrahim Soliman for for embezzlement of public funds.

In March 2013, the criminal court sentenced businessman and Alaa Hosni Mubarak’s father-in-law Mohamed Magdy Raskh to five years in prison for corruption-related charges in absentia. The defendant has not appealed the court ruling and is still on the run.

In April 2017, the court sentenced Mubarak-era interior minister to seven years in prison, also for embezzlement of public funds.

The statement added that the Egyptian general prosecutor’s office cooperated with all requests sent from its Swiss counterpart, whereas the Swiss authorities did not cooperate in the same way with Egyptian requests.

It suggested that the Swiss attorney general informed Nabil Sadek during a meeting in December 2016 that a Swiss investigation concerning money laundering charges against Alaa and Gamal concluded that there was no provable connection between their assets in Switzerland and the crimes of which they were accused in Egypt.

Although the attorney general said he would send a copy of the Swiss investigation report to his Cairo counterpart as part of mutual cooperation, Sunday’s statement claimed the Egyptian office has not yet received it, despite an Egyptian request in accordance with Swiss law.

In September, the Swiss embassy in Cairo announced that investigations into the Mubarak family’s frozen assets are being conducted “independently” in both Switzerland and Egypt.

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