Cyprus probes possible Mubarak funds

Cyprus said Tuesday it was investigating whether ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stashed away ill-gotten gains in secret accounts on the island.

Justice Minister Loucas Louca said a special unit called Mokas, which is tasked with combating financial crime and money laundering, was handling the issue.

"We don't go around doing investigations on our own willy-nilly," Louca told reporters when asked about the issue.

"A specific request comes to us from a country. There is an investigation underway to locate evidence of assets in banks but it's not that simple."

He said a search had to be done at the registrar of companies to see if there were companies on the island that belong to "these people."

The minister did not elaborate.

According to local media, an Egyptian delegation was in Cyprus last week to track down state funds allegedly siphoned from Egypt to the island during the 30-year rule of Mubarak.

Reportedly, proceedings have been launched in Cyprus against four companies in a bid to find assets connected to the former regime.

Egyptian authorities have visited various European countries to follow the money trail of millions of dollars allegedly stashed in secret accounts.

A team met officials from the justice ministry and Mokas in a search for evidence against Mubarak-era figures.

"The meeting went very well. It was very productive. The Cyprus government is giving full support," Egyptian Ambassador Menha Mahrous Bakhoum told the Cyprus Mail on Sunday.

"There is nothing concrete yet. We are investigating," she added.

Switzerland and Britain have already frozen an estimated 445 million euros worth of assets linked to former regime figures.

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