Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah called for an initiative by countries seeking to regain assets allegedly stolen or frozen overseas on Monday, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
Abdallah’s call came during a meeting by the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery in Sharm El-Sheikh. The return of assets smuggled from Egypt, according to the prosecutor general, was a “pivotal challenge” for democratic societies, making it more important for Arab Spring countries to collaborate and work with a team of experts to bring back smuggled funds.
The prosecutor general claimed that while it normally does not take more than two years to regain smuggled assets, the complex way in which former regime officials managed to smuggle assets provided complications.
He added that ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year tenure provided an environment making it easier for high ranking officials to safely secure stolen funds.
Abdallah vowed an initiative to return the assets would “defend the rights of the Egyptian people” and would accept cooperation from other countries to complete the process of recovering them.
Adviser to the Minister of Justice Ahmed Al-Naggar said his ministry was also working to recover money both domestically and internationally, but called for a comprehensive strategy to return assets from abroad due to a number of serious obstacles that exist.
Head of the Egyptian Administrative Supervisory Authority Omar Wahby said in April that frozen assets belonging to the Mubarak family and associates in the United Kingdom and Switzerland total to approximately $934m.