Switzerland’s Federal Supreme Court delivered an order to the Swiss Attorney General (OAG) on Monday to resume investigations into charges that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, members of his family and former officials had participated and supported a criminal organization, the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper reports.
As a result of the decision, which was prompted by the Egyptian government’s 2015 appeal, the Mubarak family and associates’ 590 million Swiss francs in assets that have been frozen since 2011 will remain blocked, pending investigation into money laundering as well as the charges related to organized crime.
In June 2015, the OAG partially abandoned its investigation into the organized crime charges leveled against Mubarak. However, it upheld the freeze on the parties under investigation’s assets and continued to examine the money laundering allegations.
The Egyptian government challenged the decision, as stipulations under Swiss law would facilitate the repatriation of the suspected embezzled state funds if Mubarak were found guilty of the organized crime charge. According to Swiss law, if convicted, the burden of proof is shifted from the prosecution to the defendant, meaning the frozen assets are automatically returned to the country of origin unless the defendant can prove their legitimate source.
The five-year-old Egyptian-Swiss legal cooperation process has run into severe setbacks, most notably due to Swiss authorities’ lack of trust in the Egyptian judiciary and difficulties in exchange of information.