Egypt Gets Practical Support On Stolen Assets Recovery: UK
Published Sunday, 24 February 2013 09:17 | Written by Amwal Al Gahd
The UK has revealed plans to provide Arab Spring countries with more technical assistance to help them recover stolen assets.
Egyptian judicial officials complain the UK has refused more than half of their Mutual Legal Assistances (MLA) requests. The UK Home Office denies the claim.
MLAs are a formal way of countries requesting assistance in obtaining evidence located outside their jurisdiction to assist in criminal investigations or proceedings.
“The UK central authority has not refused any of these requests," a UK Home Office spokesman told Ahram Online.
“The authority may have requested further information so that requests can be properly executed; this is not the same as refusing a request,” he said, adding that the authority received 17 MLA requests from Egypt in 2011.
Egypt says the UK has received about 25 MLA requests of which 15 have been refused.
The UK Foreign Office says Egypt has been given significant assistance from a number of UK government departments and agencies to ensure their MLA requests contain the required information to allow the UK to approve the request.
Last year, Egypt filed a lawsuit in the UK High Court against the UK government claiming it is not cooperating enough over the return of stolen Egyptian assets.
Ahram Online understands that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has seconded last week one of its experts to Egypt to provide in-country assistance to the Egyptian authorities in drafting MLA requests.
She will be working with the Egyptians for 12 months at the expense of the UK government.
Meanwhile, the UK says it is working on plans to arrange international workshops on ways to enable Arab Spring transition countries to retrieve their stolen assets successfully.
“To facilitate this, we will work with the World Bank/UN Stolen Assets Recovery (StAR) team to deliver three technical special sessions,” the UK Foreign Office official said.
He added that the first special session will be hosted by the government of Qatar 2-4 April in Doha.