Switzerland orders freeze on Mubarak assets

11th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Swiss government on Friday ordered a freeze on any assets belonging to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his entourage shortly after he was forced from office, the foreign ministry said.

"The Federal Council (government) has decided to freeze any assets of the former Egyptian president and his entourage in Switzerland with immediate effect," the ministry said in a statement.

It added that the three-year freeze was aimed at preventing any risk of embezzlement of Egyptian state property.

Apart from any cash or investments in Swiss bank accounts, the order, which was published at 5:30 pm (1630 GMT) according to Swiss news agency ATS, also applies to the sale or transfer of any residential or commercial property.

It was not immediately clear if any such assets had been located in Switzerland.

The Swiss government also called on Egyptian authorities "to respond to the legitimate desire of the Egyptian people in a credible, participatory and transparent manner."

The Swiss ambassador in Egypt described the situation as people massed on the streets of Cairo as "World Cup euphoria multiplied by 10", ATS reported.

Swiss authorities slapped a similar freeze on the assets of Tunisia's ex-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali last month a few a days after he was ousted.

That has resulted in the blockage of a sum in the "two-digit millions" in Switzerland, officials said, pending legal action for its recovery by Tunisian authorities.

© 2011 AFP

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