World Bulletin / News Desk
The Egyptian government would be entitled to confiscate Muslim Brotherhood funds deposited in local banks if a proposed decision to dissolve the Islamist group is approved, Egyptian bankers said Monday.
On Saturday, cabinet spokesman Sherif Shawqi said the government was considering a decision to dissolve Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails.
Interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi has suggested that Social Solidarity Minister Ahmed al-Borie issue a decision formally dissolving the group, Shawqi told reporters.
"The proposal is being studied by the government," the spokesman added.
The announcement came amid an ongoing crackdown on the group's leaders in several provinces. On Sunday, several Muslim Brotherhood members were arrested in dawn raids on their homes.
The escalation comes as the seven-week standoff between the military-backed government and the Islamist groups backing the ousted leader shows no sign of resolution.
The Brotherhood was previously dissolved by Egyptian military authorities in 1954. After years of operating clandestinely, the group registered itself as a non-governmental organization earlier this year amid complaints by the Brotherhood's detractors that the group was illegal.
"If the Muslim Brotherhood was proved to have violated laws regulating the formation of civil groups, especially in terms of receiving funds from unidentified sources, the group could be disbanded and its funds seized," Ruqaia Riyad, legal adviser for the Federation of Egyptian Banks (FEB), told Anadolu Agency.
"If evidence showed ambiguities in the group's budget or the use of its funds in illegal activity, the government would have the right to disband it and confiscate its funds upon a decision by the prosecutor-general," she added.
Wagdi Abdel-Aziz, head of the legal department at the state-owned Arab Investment Bank, said that the seizure would also apply to founding members of the newly-created NGO. However, Abdel-Aziz said, the government could only confiscate the Brotherhood's funds after a court verdict is issued to this effect, even if the government decided to outlaw the group.
Faisal Islamic Bank Governor Abdel-Hamid Abu Moussa expects the government to target high-profile Brotherhood members' bank accounts, but says it would not be able to confiscate the funds of all group members – whose total numbers are estimated at as many as 800,000.
The Brotherhood has traditionally been tightlipped about the size of its membership.
"The state cannot seize the deposits of hundreds of thousands, because the number of Brotherhood members is not small, and it would be illogical to track down all that," Abu Moussa told AA.
"The state can only confiscate the funds of figures who face explicit charges of legal violations," he said. "So there are no concerns about ordinary Brotherhood members' deposits in Egyptian banks." ?Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Ağustos 2013, 17:56