Now that Egyptian protesters have pushed Hosni Mubarak into relinquishing power, they want him to return the fortune he and his family allegedly amassed during his 30-year reign. "If we can get back some of the billions stolen, I will be satisfied with our revolution," one 29-year-old Egyptian told The Washington Post. How much money does Mubarak have — and do the Egyptian people really have a shot at getting it back? Here, a quick guide to the fight over Mubarak's money:
How much money are we talking about?
Nobody knows for sure. Estimates of the Mubarak family's wealth go as high as $70 billion — more than Microsoft founder Bill Gates is worth. The breakdown, according to ABC News, includes $17 billion for Mubarak, $10 billion for his second son, Gamal, and $40 billion for the rest of the family. (Watch a Bloomberg report about Mubarak's great wealth)
Where's the loot?
Some of it's tied up in real estate. Mubarak and his sons own property not only in Egypt, but also London, Los Angeles and New York, according to reports cited in The Washington Post. In London, Gamal Mubarak, 47, owns a house in a neighborhood where homes sell for as much as $20 million. As for the rest of the fortune, the family reportedly has billions stashed in foreign banks and offshore accounts.
How did Mubarak get so rich?
He didn't do it by squirreling away his salary. As president, Mubarak made just $808 per month in 2007 and 2008, according to a Cairo think tank. Mubarak reportedly made his first millions through military contracts during his earlier career as an air force officer. Later his sons allegedly took huge cuts from businesses investing in Egypt, giving favored entrepreneurs virtual monopolies in return, according to The Sunday Telegraph. Other possible sources of wealth: Government corruption and the sale of state companies and land.
Will Egypt be able to get the money back?
Maybe. Switzerland has frozen whatever assets the Mubaraks and their associates still have there, and other countries are under pressure to do the same. Anti-corruption watchdogs are calling for criminal charges against the Mubaraks. A conviction would help banks return the cash. But, according to Britain's Sunday Telegraph, Mubarak scrambled in his last days in office to hide his assets. "We think their financial advisers have moved some of the money around," a senior Western intelligence source told the Telegraph. "If he had real money in Zurich, it may be gone by now."
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