x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE yet to respond to Egypt asset freeze request

Ambassador says appeal was sent out weeks ago

ABU DHABI // The Government has yet to comply with a request made by the Egyptian foreign ministry weeks ago to freeze the financial assets and bank accounts of several Egyptian officials, it has emerged.

Tamer Mansour, Egypt’s ambassador to the UAE, confirmed that the appeal was still pending after contacting the government several weeks ago. Amongst officials currently being investigated by Egypt’s attorney general are cabinet ministers and senior officials, Mr Mansour said.

“This [request] was sent out to several countries, Arabic and European, not just to the UAE,” he said. “We sent a request to the UAE authorities a few weeks ago but still didn’t get a response yet.”

Switzerland has been the quickest country to respond to the Egyptian request to date, freezing assets of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian former president, and of his associates.

Mr Mansour was hopeful the plea would be granted as the UAE “has always been co-operative in the past”. He said it would take a while to find the accounts in question, to know which names they are under and to whom they actually belong, as well as for the freeze order to be passed down.

“The procedure will take time, for sure,” he said.

The total number of accounts that might be affected in the Emirates and the assets they hold cannot be known without information from local banks, Mr Mansour said.