Switzerland's Deputy Director of the Federal Office of Justice, Susanne Kuster, has said that the Swiss authorities are following the developments in Egypt closely with regards to overturning an earlier decision to block the return of funds smuggled out of the country at the end of the Mubarak era. She told Egyptian journalists at the Swiss Ministry of Justice Headquarters in Bern that the authorities in Cairo must initiate legal proceedings to retrieve the smuggled capital along with a final judicial ruling which proves that the funds were taken illegally by former officials in the Mubarak regime.
"Egypt has not yet taken any serious steps or provided information about the funds it claims to have been smuggled illegally out of Egypt," Kuster explained. "When the Egyptians prove the illegality of these funds, the Swiss will in turn provide more information about the frozen assets."
Kuster pointed to the Swiss government's decision in December last year to block the funds and end judicial cooperation with Egypt regarding the 700 million Swiss francs in Swiss bank accounts in the names of Mubarak's men. The decision, she insisted, is in Egypt's favour while the situation in the country stabilises. "It allows the Egyptian authorities more time to collect further evidence to prove the involvement of the Mubarak regime officials in smuggling and money laundering."
Egypt submitted a request to the Swiss last December asking them to freeze the assets of officials from the former regime. However, Kuster added, it is not in Switzerland's interests to hold illegal funds, as that would damage its international reputation. "Switzerland wants to help Egypt to restore any funds proved to have been smuggled illegally out of Egypt."