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Mubarak moved “vast wealth” to untraceable accounts: report

Mubarak likely learned the lesson from ousted Tunisian leader

Hosni Mubarak transferred "vast wealth" to untraceable accounts overseas during the 18 days of protests preceding his downfall, The Telegraph reported on Sunday quoting a senior Western intelligence source.

The former president who was forced to surrender power to a supreme military council in what many described as a soft coup shifted some of his assets to untraceable accounts overseas and moved around some of his assets already in the Western accounts.

A few days before Mubarak was forced to leave, media reports estimated his family's fortune to be anywhere between $40-70 billion.

The Swiss government has taken steps to freeze any assets belonging to Mubarak and his allies, shortly after the 82-year-old transferred power to the military.

"The Federal Council (government) has decided to freeze any assets of the former Egyptian president and his entourage in Switzerland with immediate effect," the Swiss foreign ministry said in a statement released on Friday.

"We're aware of some urgent conversations within the Mubarak family about how to save these assets," The Telegraph quoted the western intelligence source, "And we think their financial advisers have moved some of the money around. If he had real money in Zurich, it may be gone by now."

Mubarak apparently learned the lesson from ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who hastily fled to Saudi Arabia while Swiss authorities froze his family’s bank account.

"There's no doubt that there will have been some frantic financial activity behind the scenes. They can lose the homes and some of the bank accounts, but they will have wanted to get the gold bars and other investments to safe quarters," The Telegraph quoted a US official as saying.

The UK said it would consider freeing Mubarak’s assets if Egypt made a formal request. The interim Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq has said his cabinet could request a freeze on Mubarak’s assets if the move is deemed necessary.