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US Intervenes to Block Egyptian Arrest of Boutros Ghali

The US has intervened to block Egypt from arresting its former Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali in London before boarding a plane to the US.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 7/20/2011, 11:26 AM / Last Update: 7/20/2011, 11:49 AM

The United States has intervened in an attempt by Egypt to arrest its former Finance Minister, Youssef Boutros-Ghali.

Egypt's transitional government, led by a military council, had filed a request with the UK government through Interpol to arrest Ghali while he was in England. Ghali was sentenced in absentia on charges of corruption by an Egyptian court following the Tahrir Square revolution that toppled the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak.

The US ambassador in London rejected 12 requests from Interpol to arrest the former Egyptian official prior to his flight to the United States, because Ghali is also an American citizen, according to sources quoted by Youm7.

Under British law, Ghali could have been extradited to Egypt due to the UK's treaty with Cairo – had all documentation been complete. However, Egyptian security forces also admitted they had not presented all the documents regarding Ghali's case.

A Christian Arab, Ghali served from July 2004 until Mubarak's regime was toppled in January of this year. The former finance minister earned a PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, also serving as a lecturer and assistance during his time there. He worked as an senior economist with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) until 1986, when he was appointed Economic Advisor to Egypt's prime minister and the governor of the country's central bank.

The nephew of Dr. Boutros Boutros Ghali, former secretary-general of the United Nations, Ghali continued to serve in various foreign policy roles, including as Minister of Foreign Trade, and was instrumental in negotiating the free trade agreement between Egypt and the US. He also headed negotiations that led to the Qualified Industrial Zone (QIZ) agreement between Egypt, the US and Israel in 2004.