Egypt’s illicit streams from 2004 to 2013 near $40 billion: U.S. report

The amount of money put to use in illicit activities in Egypt from 2004 to 2013 adds up to $39.8 billion, at an average of  $3.9 billion annually, a report on illicit financial flows said.

Produced by the U.S.-based Global Financial Integrity, the report was issued on Monday and ranks Egypt at 36 out of 149 globally in a list of countries with the “largest average illicit financial flows.”

Topping the list of countries with illicit flows from 2003 to 2014 is China, with an average of $139 billion smuggled annually in that period.

From the MENA region, several countries are higher on the list than Egypt, including Iraq, Iran, Syria and Qatar.

Egypt suffers from a myriad of economic issues, including a serious dollar shortage and has been devaluing the Egyptian pound since the beginning of 2015. Years of political turmoil have taken a toll on the economy, halving the state’s foreign reserves and driving away tourists.

The largest amount of money smuggled out of Egypt in a single year was 2008, when $6.1 billion were snuck out of the country, according to the report.

This was during the later years of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, a time of high public distrust of the government in an era marked by nepotism and the marriage of business and politics.

In the last year included in the report, 2013, the number was nearly half of what it was in 2008, with $3.6 billion smuggled out of Egypt.

Mubarak was removed in 2011 after a popular uprising and after a year of interim military rule, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi climbed to power in mid 2012. His rule lasted a year, but he was eventually ousted by the military after protests against him. In his place Justice Adly Mansour ruled for a year before presidential elections brought ex-army general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to power in June 2014.

Both Mursi and Mansour were in power in 2013, in a bloody transition that has left the country polarised until today.

source: Aswat Masriya