This morning Egypt’s President Mubarak proved once again he can’t take a hint.
A crowd of over 1 million — and possibly over 2m protesters — poured into Tahrir Square (which means Liberation in Arabic) to tell the embattled leader to take a hike and then celebrate his departure. But the party fell flat. While some protesters continued to demonstrate in the square, others headed off for surrounding streets, the presidential palace and headquarters of the state television and radio network.
While the crowd packs Mubarak’s bags, we bring you a guide to the world’s worst dictators and where they go when the people finally kick them out.
Name: Hosni Mubarak
Ruled: President, 1981-2011
Deposed: Popular Uprising
Exiled: Not Yet
Wealth: $25 billion to $70 billion.
Egypt’s paper Pharaoh, who has ruled for almost 30 years, has insisted he’s staying till September, but he’ll be lucky to last that long. He has promised to die in Egypt, but may flee to London if he’s forced out. His wife Suzanne has a British passport because she’s half Welsh. Her mum was a nurse from Pontypridd, who married an Egyptian medical student.
Mubarak’s son Gamal — once next in line for the throne — owns a fabulous £8.5 million Georgian terrace in Wilton Place, Belgravia, a stone’s throw from Harrods. Murdoch’s The Sun newspaper claims Gamal arrived in the UK by private jet late January with his family and 97 pieces of luggage. But CNN’s film crew say they met him in Cairo four days later.
Hosni is alleged to be the world’s richest man with a $70 billion fortune. But file that with The Sun’s stories because it’s just a guess. Arabic newspaper Al Khabar claimed in 2010 that much of his wealth was offshore in Swiss bank UBS and the UK’s Bank of Scotland. But they don’t know either.
This week’s Guardian story had no hard evidence and no named sources but it was swallowed by USA’s National Public Radio and hundreds of bloggers around the world. Bloomberg eventually spat it out again and took it off its website. But $70 billion is now chalked on the ground in Tahrir Square. Bottom line is Mubarak has bucketloads of loot.
Egypt ranks 98th out of 178 countries on Transparency International’s 2010 corruption index, which means heaps of “bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement and embezzlement of public funds.” Foreign companies investing in Egypt typically gave 20 per cent of the project to a local partner. Mubarak and his ministers were often first in line.
Name: Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali
Ruled: President, 1987-2011
Deposed: Popular uprising
Exiled: Saudi Arabia
Wealth: $5 billion
After 23 years as Tunisia’s tough man, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, was forced out in January by a massive popular uprising. The Jasmine Revolution began when 26-year old fruit seller Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest police harassment. This coincided with WikiLeaks revelations of corruption (Ben Ali freighted in ice cream from St Tropez and kept a tiger that ate four chickens a day) and repression (“a police state … with serious human rights problems”, according to secret US diplomatic cables).
After holding out for a month Ben Ali fled to France on his private jet, but was refused permission to land. Frantic phone calls found him a bolthole in Saudi Arabia where he and his hated wife, ex-hairdresser Leila Trabelsi, have been given a palace. According to the French Secret Service, Leila picked up 1.5 tonnes of gold bars worth $37 million from Tunisia’s Central Bank on her way out.
Since then, locals have trashed the family’s luxury cars and homes, and Swiss authorities have frozen two bank accounts containing “tens of millions of Swiss francs.” But plenty more is still missing. Local politicians claim Ben Ali stole $5 billion from the country’s coffers.
Name: Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Deposed: Mass protests
Wealth: $300 million +
Kyrg kleptocrat Kurmanbek Bakiyev ruled this former Soviet republic in Central Asia for five years. Swept to power by the Tulip Revolution in 2005, he was swept out again in April 2010 by mass protests in which more than 80 people were killed when his security forces fired on the crowds. Bakiyev was charged in 2010 with organising mass killings (in relation to these riots), abusing his power and stealing $300m of Russian aid money, for which son Maxim and 59 fellow ministers, mates and officials were also indicted.
The new government is now trying to extradite him from Belarus, without success. Kyrgyzstan ranks 164 out of 178 on Transparency International’s graft index—one of the very worst.
Name: Charles Taylor
Deposed: Civil war
Exiled: Nigeria, The Netherlands
Wealth: $280 million – $3 billion
Campaigning on the slogan, “He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him”, Charles Taylor was elected President of Liberia in 1997. The Libyan-trained ex-guerrilla had already seized control of the country in an eight-year civil war and become Africa’s most powerful warlord. By the time he resigned in 2003, Taylor was facing war crimes charges brought by neighbouring Sierra Leone and had lost control of the bush to a new wave of rebels. After fleeing to Nigeria, he was extradited to Liberia and thence to Sierra Leone in 2006.
Taylor is now on trial in The Hague for war crimes—the first African leader to suffer this fate. Charges include instigating murder, mutilation, rape and s-xual slavery. A verdict is expected later this year. Taylor also sold arms for blood diamonds and pocketed the proceeds. The UN team chasing his fortune (which some estimate at $3 billion) has drawn a blank, but records show Liberia’s largest timber company sent tax payments to Taylor’s private account and that millions of dollars flowed in from a web of banks in Hong Kong and New York. So the hunt continues.
Believe it or not, in the early 1990s, Taylor granted famous tele-evangelist Pat Robertson rights to mine Liberia’s diamonds.
Name: Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier
Deposed: Popular uprising
Wealth: $300 million – $800 million
Baby Doc Duvalier was 19-years-old when he took over from father Francois (aka Papa Doc) as Haiti’s dictator in 1971. Backed by the notorious Tonton Macoute secret police (immortalised in Graham Greene’s novel The Comedians) the Duvalier dynasty ruled this dirt-poor Caribbean island for almost four decades in a reign of torture, terror and corruption.
Baby Doc was finally booted out in 1986 after months of rioting. He was flown in a US Air Force C-41 to France, where for the next 25 years he seemingly struggled to make ends meet, despite his alleged $300 million to $800 million fortune. Then, last month, Duvalier returned without warning to Haiti, where he was promptly arrested and charged with corruption and embezzlement.
Amnesty International and others are now pushing for more serious charges of human rights abuse.
Swiss assets of $5.8m were about to be returned to him in 2010 but Switzerland has now changed the law so he’ll have to prove the money was legitimately earned. Fat chance.
FOR THE FULL RUNDOWN, INCLUDING WHO’s NEXT and TOP FIVE BOLT HOLES, GO TO: