Britain seeks international action on Mubarak assets

13th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain urged the international community on Sunday to take "concerted" action to deal with any assets held abroad by ousted former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Business Secretary Vince Cable also warned that the British government would act against any British bank involved in helping Mubarak improperly move funds.

"I wasn't aware that he (Mubarak) had enormous assets here but there clearly needs to be concerted international action on this," Cable told the BBC.

"There is no point in one government acting in isolation but certainly we need to look at it. It depends also whether his funds were illegally obtained or improperly obtained."

Cable added that he would be "concerned if the banks had been enaged in anything improper" in relation to funds held by Mubarak, who stepped down on Friday after weeks of protests.

The head of Britain's Serious Fraud Office, Richard Alderman, indicated separately that the authorities were already tracking the assets of Mubarak and of former Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was ousted last month.

"The public would expect us to be looking for some of this money if we became aware of it, and to try to repatriate it for the benefit of the people of those countries," Alderman told The Sunday Times.

Switzerland on Friday ordered a freeze on any assets belonging to Mubarak and his entourage, although it was not immediately clear if any such assets had been located in the country.

A similar freeze on Ben Ali's assets last month resulted in the blockage of a sum in the "two-digit millions" in Switzerland pending legal action for its recovery by Tunisian authorities, officials said.

© 2011 AFP

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