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Wednesday
Feb022011

Egypt's Mubarak Likely to Retain Vast Wealth

Photo Courtesy - Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(CAIRO) -- President Hosni Mubarak's power may have visibly crumbled before the world on Jan. 25 when protesters took to the streets of Cairo, but his personal wealth will likely be intact when he leaves office as pledged at the end of the year, or sooner if the crowds have their way.

Experts say the wealth of the Mubarak family was built largely from military contracts during his days as an air force officer. He eventually diversified his investments through his family when he became president in 1981. The family's net worth ranges from $40 billion to $70 billion, by some estimates.

Amaney Jamal, a political science professor at Princeton, said those estimates are comparable with the vast wealth of leaders in other Gulf countries.

"The business ventures from his military and government service accumulated to his personal wealth," said Jamal. "There was a lot of corruption in this regime and stifling of public resources for personal gain."

Gross national income is $2,070 per family in Egypt, according to the World Bank. About 20 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, according to a 2010 report by the CIA.

Robert Springborg, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School and a Middle East scholar, said while the family is very wealthy, they have not been extremely overt with their wealth.

"One of the sons has a nice apartment in Cairo but nothing hugely lavish. There are many other people in Egypt who live a more lavish lifestyle than them."

Whatever Mubarak's wealth is, Jamal said it is certain that whenever the president actually leaves office, there will be an investigation into his assets.

"There's not much of a cover-up," she said. "The people have already outed him as a corrupt leader."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio