The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been asked if assurances it has given about the tracing and freezing of assets stolen from the Egyptian and Tunisian people by the deposed regimes in those countries will also extend to British overseas territories and crown dependencies.
Both the Mubarak and Ben Ali regimes are known to have accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars during their period in power. Much of this wealth is thought to be hidden in offshore accounts.
William Hague’s somewhat vague assurance about cooperating in international efforts to thwart attempts by the ousted regimes to conceal their stolen wealth pointedly did not mention the British offshore centres whose lax financial controls lend themselves to evasion.
Correspondence to FCO below:
“The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Rt Hon William Hague MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
I note your comments in relation to the request from the military authorities in Egypt for the freezing of assets stolen from the Egyptian people by the Mubarak regime:
“”We will of course co-operate with this request. If there is any evidence of illegality or misuse of state assets we will take firm and prompt action.”
Can you advise if the United Kingdom government will ensure that bank accounts held in British overseas territories and crown dependencies will be subject to scrutiny not only in relation to Egyptian linked accounts but also those of the leader and associates of the deposed Tunisian regime?
Will the United Kingdom government via the FCO or other appropriate authority be seeking assurances from the governments/administrations in the overseas territories and crown dependencies that they will, with immediate effect, take action to ensure that offshore banks and trusts in these areas are not used to facilitate the movement of funds from either Tunisia or Egypt?
J B Moffatt
Director of Information”
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information