Britain: Convictions needed before return of Mubarak regime funds

Returning money smuggled into Britain by figures from the former Mubarak regime is a difficult and complicated process, said Britain’s deputy prime minister Thursday, according to Egypt’s vice president.

During a phone conversation with Egyptian Vice President Mahmoud Mekky, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the British government is making all possible efforts to solve the problem.

Clegg also expressed admiration for Egypt’s political transition and emphasized the British government’s readiness to support Egypt, based on Mekky’s recollection of the conversation.

Assem al-Gohary, assistant justice minister for the Illicit Gains Authority and chairman of the commission to retrieve public funds smuggled abroad, announced that the Egyptian government has filed a lawsuit against the British Treasury to compel it to cooperate with Cairo in returning the funds currently frozen in Britain.

Gohary explained that Britain has not offered the commission comprehensive judicial assistance in the matter.

Alistair Burt, Britain’s minister for the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, said Egypt has not provided strong enough evidence for Britain to freeze the assets of Mubarak and his former cronies.

He confirmed the British government’s close cooperation with Egyptian authorities to identify the money the courts have decided was stolen.

Burt emphasized that Britain cannot deprive anyone of his or her money and transmit it abroad without being presented with a criminal conviction ordering the confiscation of such funds.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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