GENEVA - The Swiss government on Friday froze any assets belonging to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak or his family in Switzerland.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lars Knuchel said the order to block any bank accounts takes effect immediately but gave no details on the family's assets. He spoke as pro-democracy demonstrators in Cairo were jubilantly celebrating the announcement that Mubarak has resigned after nearly three decades of authoritarian rule and handed power over to the military.
Swiss Finance Minister Widmer-Schlumpf was asked earlier this week by Swiss national TV station SF whether Mubarak or his family had any money in Switzerland.
"We don't have any very clear indications that anything is here, but of course we're in the process of clarifying this and we'll act appropriately," she said.
She said the Foreign Ministry was investigating the matter.
At the end of 2009, Egyptian deposits in Swiss bank accounts totaled 3.6 billion Swiss francs (about $3.5 billion), according to the Swiss National Bank.
Reports of Mubarak's personal assets range from $2 billion to $70 billion (though U.S. officials described the top figure as wildly exaggerated, according to NBC News).
According to ABC News, Mubarak accumulated some of his wealth through military contracts starting in his early days as an Air Force Officer. It's unclear how much money the former Egyptian leader made through government corruption of public funds.
A leading figure of the protest movement, Google executive Wael Ghonim, called for Mubarak to surrender any money attained improperly.
"The money Mubarak and his family stole out of the Egyptian people should go to families of martyrs and to reconstruct Egypt," Ghonim tweeted.