EU plans Egypt asset freezes
Brussels - The European Union plans to adopt sanctions
against former Egyptian officials accused of stashing billions of dollars
abroad next week, an EU official said on Tuesday.
Egypt asked the United States and European Union to freeze
the assets of several former officials last month after street protests ended
the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak.
EU and US officials said Mubarak's name was not on the
initial Egyptian list, but Egypt's public prosecutor's office has since ordered
the freezing of assets of the former president and his family after complaints
they acquired wealth illegally.
"The objective is that the asset freeze can be adopted
at the foreign ministers' meeting on Monday," an EU official said,
referring to a meeting involving the 27 EU states in Brussels.
An EU spokesperson said officials were working to enable a
EU officials said last month that EU working groups and heads of mission in Egypt had been asked to look into the Egyptian request.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told the British
parliament on Tuesday that Britain had yet to freeze the assets of former
Egyptian officials as requested by Egypt on February 14, but was working
towards this at the EU level.
"One of the difficulties in pursuing this to the
necessary point of freezing the actual assets is the lack of information that
has been supplied by the Egyptian authorities," he said.
"We have urged progress within the European Union so
that this is done on a European Union basis and that means that the decisive
action remains to be taken."
Hague suggested there had been hold-ups both on the Egyptian
and the EU sides.
Asked if information provided by the Egyptian authorities
was inadequate or if other EU members were dragging their feet, he said:
"Well, both of those to some degree."
Mubarak and other senior officials are suspected of having
sent billions of dollars of assets abroad. Opponents have called for the money
to be sent back to Egypt to help alleviate poverty.
On February 21 the Swiss government said it had seized
"several dozens of millions" of francs held in Swiss banks by Mubarak
and his entourage.