Switzerland froze any funds and assets belonging to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his immediate circle to prevent their “misappropriation.”
The Alpine nation “wants to avoid any risk of possible misappropriation” of Egyptian state property, the Bern-based Foreign Ministry said in an e-mailed statement today issued 90 minutes after Mubarak’s resignation was announced in Cairo. The freeze is effective immediately and will last for three years.
The five-paragraph text didn’t specify the value of Mubarak assets that are in Switzerland.
Egyptian deposits in Swiss bank and fiduciary accounts totaled 3.6 billion Swiss francs ($3.7 billion) at the end of 2009, according to Swiss National Bank statistics.
The country on Jan. 19 imposed a similar freeze on assets held by former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo. On Feb. 2, the government started a procedure to formally confiscate the Swiss assets of former Haitian ruler Jean-Claude Duvalier, which had been frozen since 1986.
Switzerland, where an estimated 27 percent of the world’s privately held offshore wealth is managed, has tightened money- laundering rules over the past years as it tries to prevent the inflow of illicit funds.
Mubarak, 82, stepped down as president of Egypt today and handed power to the military, bowing to the demands of protesters who have occupied central Cairo for the past 18 days calling for an end to his 30-year rule.
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