Sun, Feb 06, 2011 - Page 4 News List

Mubarak wealth in the billions, mostly overseas: experts

The Guardian, LONDON

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s family fortune could be as much as US$70 billion, according to analysis by Middle East experts, with much of his wealth in British and Swiss banks or tied up in property in London, New York, Los Angeles and along expensive tracts of the Red Sea coast.

After 30 years as president and many more as a senior military official, Mubarak has had access to investment deals that have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. Most of those gains have been taken offshore and deposited in secret bank accounts or invested in upmarket homes and hotels.

According to a report last year in the Arabic newspaper al Khabar, Mubarak has properties in Manhattan and exclusive Beverly Hills addresses on Rodeo Drive.

His sons, Gamal and Alaa, are also billionaires. A protest outside Gamal’s ostentatious home at 28 Wilton Place in London’s Belgravia area, highlighted the family’s appetite for Western trophy assets.

Amaney Jamal, a political science professor at Princeton University, said the estimate of US$40 billion to US$70 billion was comparable with the vast wealth of leaders in other Gulf and Arab countries.

“There was a lot of corruption in this regime and stifling of public resources for personal gain,” she told ABC News. “This is the pattern of other Middle Eastern dictators so their wealth will not be taken during a transition. These leaders plan on this.”

Al Khabar said it understood the Mubaraks kept much of their wealth offshore in the Swiss bank UBS and the Bank of Scotland, although this information could be at least 10 years old. However, there are only sketchy details of exactly where the Mubaraks have generated their wealth and its final destination.

Christopher Davidson, professor of Middle East politics at Durham University, England, said Mubarak, his wife, Suzanne, and two sons were able to accumulate wealth through business partnerships with foreign investors and companies, dating back to when he was in the military and in a position to benefit from corporate corruption.

Al Khabar named a series of Western firms that, partnered with the Mubaraks, generated some US$15 million a year in profits.

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