Egypt's missing billions will never be returned

Egypt's missing billions will never be returned
Mubarak's acquittal on corruption and murder charges means there will be no return of money held in foreign banks by the former president.
3 min read
01 Dec, 2014
The search for the billions of dollars thought to have been embezzled has ended [Getty]
Foreign banks needed a conviction to return the billions Mubarak and his associates were alleged to have embezzled from the Egyptian state. Now they have been acquitted, there will be no windfall for Egypt.

Mubarak can now ask the EU to cancel the memorandum of 21 March 2011, which required all British and European banks and institutions to freeze the accounts, funds and properties of Mubarak and 19 others, including family members and former ministers from his regime.

He can now enjoy his estimated $40-$70 billion fortune. He and his sons, Gamal and Alaa, can enjoy the mansions they bought in Europe and the Pacific, and the businesses they have in London, Zurich and the Bahamas.

There will be no more delegations to France or London to discuss the recovery of missing money. We will not hear of delegations returning from London after a week in one of its luxurious hotels, or about delegates hiking in the beautiful mountains near Zurich, claiming they were negotiating with the Swiss authorities to recover hidden cash.
The Egyptian people are now free to enjoy their poverty, unemployment, corruption and humiliation.

This acquittal means that employees of the ministry of justice, the public prosecutor's office, the anti-corruption department, the unit for combating money laundering, the general department of public funds criminal investigation police, and the administrative control authority will no longer receive benefits or travel allowances for their frequent meetings abroad to discuss the recovery of  allegedly looted funds.

We will no longer hear about those institutions that "scavenged" for money under the pretext of recovering Egypt's looted funds from banks around the world, nor about the organisations that repeatedly claimed they were getting closer to recovering the funds, including several popular asset-recovery initiatives and judicial committees, one of which was led by Egypt's minister of justice himself.

Regulatory authorities will no longer be burdened with uncovering looted funds, because no one has been found guilty of looting.

We will no longer hear promises of recovery, endlessly repeated since the 25 January revolution by Hussein Tantawi, Mohamed Morsi, Adly Mansour and Abdul Fatah al-Sisi.

We will no longer hear about the brilliant ideas by economists and analysts who demand the looted funds be invested in projects that would provide jobs for millions of young Egyptians.

The Egyptian people are now free to enjoy their poverty, unemployment, corruption and humiliation. Forty percent of them live below the poverty line and four million Egyptian children will go to sleep hungry tonight. Millions of young Egyptians will have nothing to do but hang out in cafes and on street corners.

Case closed.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.