CAIRO – British Foreign Secretary William Hague promised Egypt's president on Tuesday to help resolve a dispute between the two countries over assets allegedly stolen and deposited in Britain by members of the deposed regime.
Egypt's toppled president Hosni Mubarak and his sons are believed to have acquired billions of dollars illegally. The two sons, Gamal and Alaa, are in custody and on trial on charges of insider trading. Their father, who had ruled Egypt for 29 years, is serving a life sentence for failing to prevent the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising last year.
Hague agreed to send a prosecutor to work with Egyptian prosecutors seeking to track down the funds, but cautioned President Mohammed Morsi during their meeting in Cairo that British law stipulates Egypt must prove the money was stolen before British authorities freeze any of the disputed assets.
Earlier Tuesday, President Barack Obama reaffirmed American support for Arab Spring nations seeking to recover possibly billions of dollars in assets stashed away by members of the toppled regimes.
It was Hague's first visit to Egypt since Morsi's election in June.
Hague and Morsi also discussed Egypt's efforts to bring back British tourists, who have frequented the country's archaeological sites and its beaches before political turmoil hit the country.
They talked about possibilities of extraditing wanted persons, who are believed to be residing in their respective countries, including former Egyptian Investment Minister, Yousef Boutros-Ghali. He is a nephew of the former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and is believed to be living in London.
Yousef Boutros-Ghali was tried in absentia in an Egyptian court. In June, he was convicted on charges of abusing authority and squandering public funds and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.