But Lord Malloch-Brown, a former Labour foreign minister and former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, told The Sunday Telegraph: \”When people are forced out of office, if they have money way beyond what they should have earned, then a country like Britain should freeze those assets pending a court action by the new government.
I wonder who gets to determine \”should\”?
For there\’s a really rather large problem here about determining that.
OK, sure, I agree that if someone\’s been dipping their hands into the Treasury then the new rulers have an obvious right to come after that money.
But that\’s not, at least as far as I can see, the major allegation against the Mubaraks at present. Rather, that over these past 30 years, if you wanted to do business in Egypt then you had to cut one or other of the sons in on the action. That\’s how you got your licence, how you got your monopoly.
Again, sure, crony capitalism, not a good thing. But this does, at the other edge, then bleed into, well, just knowing people who matter.
Let us take an entirely absurd and quite unbelievable invention as an entirely absurd example.
The Leader of the Opposition, when retired, is sent off to some international body as a bureaucrat, where he earns a couple of hundred grand plus expenses for his troubles. His wife gets appointed (for elections to the Parliamentary part of this international body are run on a party list system, thus being high enough up the list really is an appointment) to the Parliament of this international body and gets a further 60k a year plus lavish expenses. Both then receive peerages on their return: their son also gains a bureaucratic appointment within the overseas promotion arm of that country\’s government on more than 100k a year.
Is this also \”earning way beyond what they should have earned\”? Is this parlaying of influence and knowledge of people within the system similarly something which should result in the seizure of bank accounts?
Yes, of course I\’m being absurd: but that\’s the problem.
Nicking money is reasonably clear: parlaying influence into a share of a business, or a cute job or sinecure, isn\’t.
So where is that line to be drawn?