The claims spelled out in the document are the most sweeping to date against Mubarak, a strategic ally of the United States for three decades until he was forced from power in February in the wake of national protests and international pressure. The sum of the assets alleged to be appropriated by the Mubarak family — more than $700 billion — far exceeds earlier estimates and might be wildly exaggerated. Previous figures for the amount allegedly stolen by the Mubaraks range from $1 billion to $70 billion.
The 12-page document, written in Arabic and titled “Request for Judicial Assistance,” is intended to provide the legal basis under civil law to recover assets belonging to the Egyptian people. The copy of the document obtained by The Post indicates it was prepared in February 2011 but does not provide a more precise date. An Egyptian official in Washington said the request was sent to countries where the Mubarak family might maintain assets.
A legal representative has categorically denied to news service reporters the “ill-intentioned rumors” that Mubarak and his family had amassed enormous wealth while in office and hid it abroad.
The document mixes the credible with the questionable. Gamal Mubarak’s widely known role at one of the Arab world’s largest investment funds, EFG Hermes, has long fueled suspicion. But other statements appear to be supported only by hearsay witness testimony, secondhand news accounts, and, in two cases, by what apparently are fraudulent bank documents.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Friday issued a statement saying officials were “vigorously pursuing all leads provided by the Egyptian Government with regard to freezing assets of former Egyptian officials. . . . We are meeting regularly with Egyptian Ministry of Justice officials to investigate any allegations that such assets have been deposited in the United States.”
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department, the agency responsible for recovering stolen assets, declined to comment on the document. A former federal fraud prosecutor said some of the claims made against Mubarak remind him of the allegations against deposed Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the 1980s.
“Some of this might sound far-fetched at the beginning of the investigation, but often it turns out to be true. The difficulty is in linking the assets to specific acts of corruption,” said Ted S. Greenberg, former chief of Justice’s anti-money-laundering section. “It was alleged that Marcos took huge amounts of gold out of the Philippines. He may have, but we never found it. He did take large amounts of jewelry. He took a steamer trunk of pearls — big pearls, little pearls, all kinds of pearls. The U.S. government seized it and it was ultimately returned to the Philippines.”