Wednesday, February 16, 2011

There's Thing That Money Can't Buy (2)

There's Thing That Money Can't Buy (1)  


How Far Can The Mubaraks Run? — Paul Gilfeather

FEB 16 — You would have thought that with an entire country to suppress, toppled Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak would not have had enough time to pursue the kind of business deals which has allegedly seen him amass a US$50-billion (RM155 billion) fortune.
Even if Mubarak refused to share his wealth with the people of Egypt, his family flourished during his years in power. Both his sons, Gamal and Alaa, are billionaires and share in their father’s massive property portfolio stretching across Europe’s most expensive cities, America and the Middle East.
His wife Suzanne, 69, the grand-daughter of a dirt-poor Welsh miner, was so extravagant she was nicknamed Marie Antionette, after the opulence-loving Queen who lost her head in the French revolution.
As the former First Lady and her two sons fled to London, baggage handlers at the city’s Heathrow Airport claimed to have spotted the group with around 100 pieces of designer luggage.
You are forgiven for allowing yourself to imagine the kind of glittering riches which may have been tucked away inside these suitcases. For the Mubarak family had become symbols of excess and corruption in Egypt.
Since grabbing power in 1981, the 82-year-old despot is believed to have used every hour of every day to increase his vast fortune through corrupt deals with foreign investors. He did this while his own people struggled to keep their heads above the breadline.
Fortunately, we now live in a world where fleeing dictators suspected of stealing from the very people they are supposed to represent are hunted down and their assets frozen.
And the encouraging noises coming out of Egypt and Europe over the past couple of days suggest that, before long, the Mubarak family will become international outlaws wanted for fraud and the misappropriation of state funds.
You only have to look at the recent case of deposed Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to see what the authorities have in store for the Mubarak family.
Mass riots over poverty and unemployment in the centre of Tunis last month lit the blue touch paper for Egyptian protesters — and, in the process, Ben Ali was forced to relinquish the reins of power and flee amid charges of fraud and corruption.
Tunisia’s former First Lady, Leila Ben Ali, is even even accused of stealing 1.5 tonnes of gold from the country’s central bank as she and her family made a break for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. Even as they ran for their lives, it is alleged they halted their uncomfortable journey into exile to grab what they could like thieves in the night.
Coincidentally, I happened to be interviewing the Secretary-General of Interpol on Friday and Mr Ronald Noble told me it was he who took delivery of Ben Ali’s arrest warrant.
If similar charges are brought against Mr Mubarak and his family in the coming weeks, Noble is a face they will come to know as they look over their shoulders.
When I asked the Interpol chief about the former Egyptian President, he told me: “Let’s take Tunisia. It had this conflict, the President was accused of engaging in criminal conduct to the extent of fraud and the misappropriation of funds, and Interpol was asked to seek his arrest internationally.
“We got the allegations, we got the underlying arrest warrant, we got the charges, and Interpol notified the world that the former President of Tunisia was now being sought for arrest by the new government. In Egypt we have not been asked for any kind of assistance yet.”
But moves are certainly afoot. Switzerland said it would freeze the assets of Mubarak family members at the weekend.
And yesterday, the British government alerted officers from the country’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) to begin tracing Mubarak’s accounts after the incoming Egyptian regime made a formal request for a freeze on the assets of the ousted President.
Soca bosses will coordinate their search with European Union Finance Ministers in Brussels, who will ultimately oversee the operation. But it is more likely the crucial evidence needed for an Interpol arrest warrant will come from the new government in Egypt.
The people of Egypt are this week holding a series of funeral processions for those killed by thugs in the anti-protest violence.
Ultimate, victory for Egypt is close at hand, but now it is down to the country’s new government and the leaders of the EU to bring down the final curtain on Hosni Mubarak’s dreadful regime. — Today
* Paul Gilfeather is the principal correspondent with Today.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

Source: The Malaysian Insider - Wednesday, February 16, 2011


To know more, read: U.S. Had Year Of Warnings Over Egypt  


masterwordsmith said...

Thanks for sharing this excellent post! I would have missed it in TMI if not for you. First it was Egypt - then Tunisia and then Libya. Who next? The times, they are a-changing...

Take care and have a nice day!


Mr Lonely said...

nice blog... have a view of my blog when free.. .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

Ummie said...

The ball is rolling - Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, Iran ... It has roiled the Middle East, or North Africa perhaps?
The goal post is still invisible.
Scary scenario.


Mr Lonely,
I'll be there.

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