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Switzerland says it is eager to return smuggled Egyptian money

Switzerland's Public Prosecutor Michael Christophe Lauber is scheduled to hold a press conference on Monday at the Swiss embassy in Cairo to discuss the investigation into whether Egyptian funds were illegally smuggled to Swiss banks by the previous regime.


Lauber is visiting Cairo for one day to discuss the issue with Egyptian officials and to release any information that might help them restore Egyptian money that was smuggled abroad.

Previously, the legal advisor in the department of smuggled money in the Swiss foreign ministry, Valentinian Ziegler, had said that Switzerland is working closely with the Egyptian authorities to investigate the possibility that money was smuggled out of Egypt.

After the revolution, on 12 February 2011, the Swiss authorities froze the bank assets that were connected to Mubarak, his family and other members of the previous regime, totalling $876 million. Switzerland decided to freeze these funds for a period of three years

Ziegler indicated that authorities had carried out the measure as a kind of solidarity with the Egyptian people. However, since then, he said that the Egyptian authorities have still not offered any precise data which proves the money was illegally sent out of Egypt.

The Swiss official reiterated that his country remains eager to return any smuggled money. However, he also insisted that this would only take place once it has been proven that the money was, in fact, sent out of Egypt illegally, as Switzerland is keen to maintain its good international reputation.

Ziegler also pointed out that both the Egyptian and Swiss sides are discussing an extension of the current freeze on the funds, which is due to expire in February.

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