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Britain denies Egyptian claims of request to freeze Brotherhood funds

Britain's Foreign Office denied claims that Egypt's Justice Minister asked the British ambassador to Cairo to freeze the Muslim Brotherhood's funds in Britain and return them to Egypt.

Media sources reported Egypt's Justice Minister Nayyer Othman as saying that he had asked the British Ambassador to Egypt James Watt on Sunday to freeze the Muslim Brotherhood funds in Britain and claimed that the British ambassador requested an official court order to assist Egypt to return the Brotherhood's funds and a detailed report of how the money left Egypt and its sources.

The British Foreign Office denied that Watt issued any comment in this regard saying statements attributed to Ambassador Watt were incorrect.

Arabic spokeswoman for the British Foreign Ministry Farah Dakhlallah told Al-Jazeera: "The United Kingdom did not receive any formal request to investigate the Brotherhood's funds."

Dakhlallah commented on the British "investigation of the group" saying "this is not an investigation, but a study, a decision taken by the Prime Minister David Cameron on the basis of our national interest over recent changes, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa."

Dakhlallah pointed out that the Brotherhood "was not a banned group and the United Kingdom will examine all the evidence before reaching a conclusion on the issue. The study is based on our national interests to guarantee that we fully understand the Muslim Brotherhood and their impact and influence on British national security and the interests of prosperity in the Middle East" adding that she "cannot predict what the study will conclude".

Meanwhile, the Foreign Relations Secretary of the Freedom and Justice Party Mohamed Soudan told Al-Jazeera: "Britain is a state of law and the British judiciary is independent and far from any political pressure."

Soudan, who is currently residing in Britain described Othman's request to freeze the Muslim Brotherhood's funds as "absurd", noting that it would be more appropriate for the authorities in Egypt "to investigate Mubarak's allies who smuggled billions abroad".

Soudan claimed that "during the past two months, several businessmen and leaders in Al-Sisi's regime smuggled $70 billion to Switzerland, according to an official statement by the Swiss Finance Minister."

Commenting on the International Criminal Courts' decision to refuse a lawsuit filed by the Freedom and Justice Party, Soudan said it was "erroneous and politicised", stressing that his party will appeal the court's decision.

Meanwhile, British Journalist David Hirst said it was highly unlikely that the British government will declare the Muslim Brotherhood "a terrorist group".

Hirst pointed out that the British government ended three defence contracts with Egypt in October, noting that Cameron's government is not concerned with the Muslim Brotherhood and that Cameron invited the group's spokesman Gehad El-Haddad for dinner when the group was in power.

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