How Much Is Mubarak Worth? Who Knows?

Protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square hold up an Arabic poster that says "Before you leave we want the 70 billion dollars" Thurs. Feb. 10. AP Photo/ Mohammed Abou Zaid

Protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square hold up an Arabic poster that says "Before you leave we want the 70 billion dollars" Thurs. Feb. 10.
AP Photo/ Mohammed Abou Zaid

There are no hard figures on Hosni Mubarak's wealth - only widely divergent estimates from $2 billion to $70 billion based on few facts. Experts and government officials say the $70 billion often cited by protesters is likely overblown.

Why? $70 billion would make Mubarak the richest man on the planet, richer than Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim or Bill Gates. One government source said it was hard to believe that a man who was never known for being among the most wealthy would suddenly emerge as the richest man in the world.


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"I would be very, very surprised if it was 70 billion," said Kerry Dolan, a Forbes Senior Editor who oversees Forbes Magazine's World's Billionaires list. Dolan says the Forbes list only looks at capitalist billionaires yet she finds the $70 billion estimate "exaggerated and unproven".

Dolan says measuring dictators' wealth is extremely difficult, "You've got to get really lucky or you need some serious authority," she said citing the difficulty in tracking wealth that could be socked away in Swiss bank accounts.

The Swiss government confirmed Friday it had moved to freeze assets belonging to Mubarak or his family in Swiss bank accounts---if such assets exist.

The Treasury Department declined comment on Mubarak's wealth to CBS News.

However, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a warning in connection to Tunisia's revolution "to guard against the potential flow of illicit assets that may be related to the current political and social unrest in Tunisia", but the agency has not taken similar action on Egypt to date.

And if the U.S. government wanted to freeze Mubarak's wealth here or abroad, government officials say they have no grounds or authority to do so. Mubarak has not been deemed a terrorist and there is no national emergency to warrant any such action, government officials said.

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