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False Spring: Credit Suisse Had Deep Ties to Arab Elite on Eve of Historic Uprisings

OCCRP and Süddeutsche Zeitung
February 21, 2022
Waleed Nassar was interviewed for an expose uncovering massive holdings of corrupt Arab funds held at Credit Suisse. 

The [Mubarak] brothers accrued hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of villas, luxury cars, and stakes in major Egyptian companies, eye-catching wealth in a country where a quarter of people lived on under $3.20 per day.  That all collapsed in the space of just three weeks in 2011, when millions took to the streets across the Arab world, demanding accountability for a ruling class that had hoarded wealth and sent it abroad for decades. Mubarak resigned in February, and within 30 minutes Swiss authorities had frozen hundreds of millions of dollars’ of assets linked to him and his government…

Waleed Nassar, a lawyer who worked on Egypt’s asset recovery efforts, said foreign banks regularly built personal relationships with wealthy customers in Egypt, who could then move money out of the country in a way that might have otherwise raised red flags. “You and I can’t go to a bank right now and get away with some of the most basic things that are atypical protocol-wise, but these guys can,” he said. “But for [the banks’] conduct, a lot of the money would have never have been able to be transferred outside of Egypt in the first place.”

…Nassar, the lawyer who worked on asset recovery in Egypt, said that the efforts started to lose steam as the political will to find and return assets receded. Even under Morsi, he recalled that many officials questioned how successful the program would be.  “They were always skeptical of whether we could get any money back,” Nassar said. “In hindsight, I think they were prescient.”

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