By Tim Nanns and Mahmoud Mostafa
Switzerland’s federal prosecutor dropped Tuesday the charge of organised crime against former president Hosni Mubarak, aids and family members, but announced investigations into the money laundering accusation will continue.
“Concerning the suspicion of participation or support of a criminal organisation, the OAG has partially abandoned its prosecution,” a statement from the office of the Swiss Attorney General (OAG) read.
“As for the suspicion of Money Laundering, criminal proceedings will continue against all defendants and seized assets will remain seized for the time being,” spokesman of the OAG André Marty added.
The OAG said this legal step has been communicated to all parties involved in the Swiss criminal proceedings, asserting they stay “in close contact” with the Office of the Prosecutor General in Egypt.
The Egyptian government has gained approval as a private prosecutor in the case’s procedures, and is entitled to appeal against dropping the charge of organised crime.
Proving the participation or support of a criminal organisation can give proof of the illegality of the means of obtaining the assets. This would subsequently ease the process of returning the assets to the Egyptian government.
Following the popular uprising that ousted Mubarak in 2011, the Swiss government announced a provisional freeze of Mubarak’s funds. It later announced in May of the same year that it had frozen CHF410m (over EGP 3.3bn) in assets held by ousted President Hosni Mubarak and 14 Egyptian officials from the former regime.
In late 2013, the Swiss government announced its decision to maintain CHF700m (over EGP 5.7bn) of Mubarak and his aides’ assets frozen, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported.
The Swiss authorities have been in contact with the Egyptian side in the case since the freezing of the funds in 2011. In 2014, the OAG requested mutual legal assistance from Egypt on the case to confiscate evidences that would help prove the money laundering charge.