Will OFAC Freeze Mubarak’s U.S. Assets?

February 17, 2011

The Egyptian government has requested that the U.S. Treasury Department seize the assets of a number of Egyptian individuals, though so far that list does not include former President Hosni Mubarak.

The request was made over the weekend, however the names of the Egyptian nationals the new government in Cairo is targeting have not been released.

The governments of Germany, France and the U.K. said they received a request from Egyptian authorities to freeze the assets of former senior officials. European Union finance ministers discussed the issue at a meeting in Brussels earlier this week.

Within hours of Mubarak’s resignation, the Swiss announced their intention to find and freeze any assets believed to be in the hands of Mubarak or his inner circle. British Foreign Secretary William Hague told Parliament the U.K. would cooperate with Egypt’s request, and French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde pledged assistance as well.

The moves come amid an international effort to track down assets linked to the ousted president of Tunisia, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia on January 14. The European Union and the Swiss have moved to freeze assets belonging to the former leader, his wife and dozens of associates and relatives. French authorities opened their own investigation of his property, spurred by legal complaints filed by anti-corruption organizations.

The FBI is looking at whether Ben Ali has assets in the U.S. or has used U.S. financial institutions to move illicit funds. An official at the Tunisian embassy in Washington has said the interim government requested that the U.S. freeze assets belonging to Ben Ali and his family. The request was sent last month, the official said.

Although Mubarak has not been designated by OFAC, the Swiss government has already expressed their intention to find and freeze any assets believed to be in the hands of Mubarak or his inner circle. Further, the U.K. has vowed to freeze any of Mubarak’s assets upon proof of illegality. Surely OFAC is watching this situation closely, and an investigation into Mubarak’s U.S. assets is most likely underway.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Former Tunisian President on OFAC’s Radar

January 27, 2011

With the recent global alert issued by Interpol against former Tunisian President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali may be facing an OFAC designation next.

Ben Ali and his family members are being sought for the illegal acquisition of assets and illicit transfers of funds abroad. These types of monetary transactions will most likely bring the former leader within OFAC’s radar.

OFAC specifically looks for illegal financial transactions in the international market. If OFAC believes the funds are related to illegal activity, it will not hesitate to place Ben Ali and his associates on the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN List).

Ben Ali needs to realize that an OFAC designation may be near. The fact that authorities have already frozen assets belonging to Ben Ali’s family and his in-laws in Tunisia and in Switzerland is a red flag that OFAC is watching this situation closely.

If OFAC places Ben Ali on the SDN List, his assets relating to the U.S. will be frozen, and those under U.S. jurisdiction will be forbidden from engaging in any financial transaction with the former President. This may be significant to Ben Ali, particularly if he has assets in a U.S. foreign correspondent bank or in dealings with any entity with ties to the U.S.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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