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Egypt: European Union’s lift of Mubarak sanctions signals impunity for corrupt actors

On Wednesday, the European Court of Justice unfroze the assets of deceased Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, allowing his family access to the funds. Transparency International EU estimates Mubarak stole nearly US$70 billion in public funds that are now concealed in France, Germany and Spain. The legal battle lasted over a decade, and the court ordered the Council of the European Union to pay back any costs the family incurred in the proceedings.

Kinda Hattar, Transparency International Middle East and North Africa regional advisor, responded to the news:

“Eleven years ago, the Egyptian people rose up against autocracy and corruption, overthrowing Hosni Mubarak in a legitimate revolution. The European Union’s imposition of sanctions in 2011 was a powerful signal to leaders everywhere that they could not abuse entrusted power without consequences. Now, allowing Mubarak’s family access to the billions of dollars looted from public resources signals that corruption has an expiration date.

“This could not come at a worse time as we see the impact of kleptocracy plundering public resources, undermining democracy and provoking instability globally. For too long, the European Union has served as an attractive destination for dirty money. While there have been efforts to reform the system to halt illicit flows and track and recover ill-gotten assets, this ruling shows more must be done.

“Transparency International calls on the EU to use the upcoming reform of its asset recovery legislation to make it easier to confiscate stolen assets, to share publicly available data on asset recovery efforts and to enable the return of assets to benefit the victims. The Egyptian people suffered the rule of Hosni Mubarak for 30 years – the wealth he stole should now enrich them, not his family who supported the oppression.”

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