Search is on for Mubarak’s British millions
As Egyptians celebrate his downfall, the SFO looks for Mubarak family silver
As jubilation continues in Egypt after the end of president Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, the Serious Fraud Office has said it is investigating his assets in the UK.
Estimates of the riches amassed by Mubarak and his family over the past three decades vary from £1.3bn to £43.5bn. The loot is widely thought to be the product of corrupt business deals and the seizure of assets belonging to former presidents and the royal family.
On Friday night, the Swiss authorities announced they were freezing Mubarak's assets in Zurich, but a senior Western intelligence source has now told the Sunday Telegraph that much of that money has been moved and hidden in the last few weeks.
In fact, the source claimed that Mubarak only clung to power for the past 18 days in order to make sure his wealth was hidden beyond the reach of investigators.
Mubarak's wife, Suzanne, is half Welsh and the clan make frequent visits to the UK – and are thought to have significant assets there, including a six-story Belgravia mansion.
Former Labour foreign office minister Mark Malloch Brown yesterday accused the Government of "not being loud enough" in its condemnation of Mubarak. He told the press: "When people are forced out of office, if they have money way beyond what they should have earned, then a country like Britain should freeze those assets...
"Given [Mubarak] and his family's strong links to the UK, it is reasonable to assume at least some of his assets are here."
According to the Sunday Times, however, the SFO has now launched an investigation into Mubarak's UK holdings. SFO director Richard Alderman told the paper it was currently "taking an interest" in the whereabouts of his funds and would like to be able to freeze his assets while their origin was clarified.
The 82-year-old's multi-millionaire sons, Gamal (above, right) and Alaa (above, left), have a history of financial wheeler-dealing in London. Gamal set up an investment and consulting firm in Belgravia in the 1990s, Medinvest, through which he then operated Egypt's first private equity fund, Horus.
Horus was a $54m fund designed to invest in Egypt's newly-privatised public-sector organisation. Gamal resigned as director ten years ago but, more recently, Alaa was still listed as a director of Medinvest's parent company, Cyprus-registered Bullion.
As for Gamal, he was reportedly seen at London nightclub Tramp just one week ago, running up a £16,000 bill on champagne. ·
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