The French authorities appear to have their eyes closed to Mubarak’s ill-gotten gains

By Osama Al-Sayyad, Alexandre Brutelle, Ahmed Eid and Menna Ayman.

The National Financial Prosecutor (PNF) in Paris has announced the opening of the preliminary investigation into former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s assets, and those of his entourage, following the January 2011 Revolution which brought about his ouster.

The PNF, which is responsible for all cases of allegedly ill-gotten gains, has confirmed that the investigation is in the hands of examining magistrate Dominique Blanc. However, not many assets appear to have been identified. The PNF insists that without information provided by Egypt, there’s not much that it can do.

This claim notwithstanding, a document published by the Egyptian authorities in 2011 lists a luxurious property in the heart of the French capital that does not seem to have aroused the interest of the Parisian justice or tax authorities, which were nevertheless obliged to apply an EU asset-freezing order. Despite such an order being in place, the 334 square metre apartment remains in use.

The property is located on the first floor of a building on Rue Bertie Albrecht in the upmarket 8th arrondissement of Paris. The rumour is that Mubarak’s family is the owner of the luxury apartment. “The owner?” asked one neighbour in response to our question. “Mubarak you mean? So what? Politics doesn’t intrigue me. All I can say is that the person who manages this place is very nice, very polite.”

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