Mubarak adviser’s timely UK retreat

Link with former Egyptian president prevents Bakers’ Cairo head from going home

Baker & McKenzie Cairo office head Taher Helmy, who fled Egypt amid the mass protests that ended President Hosni Mubarak’s 20-year rule, is being forced to run his practice from the UK.

Mubarak: friends in low places

Helmy was arguably the most well-known lawyer in Egypt and had forged close links with the Mubarak regime. He was a key adviser to Mubarak’s son Gamal and helped draft the legislation that paved the way for Egypt’s privatisation programme.

But since Mubarak’s resignation in February, allegations of corruption have plagued the ruler and his family and in February 2011 Egypt’s prosecutor general ordered a freeze on their assets.

Those known to be close to the ruling family have also come under suspicion and a number of businessmen have been charged with corruption in relation to the privatisation programme, under which the government sold $100bn (£64.52bn) of assets for around $10bn, according to an article in The Washington Post.

Although Helmy has not been charged, his links to the regime and the reforms that preceded the privatisation made it impossible for him to remain in the country. According to The Washington Post, he has moved to the UK with his family, where he continues to head Bakers’ Cairo office at a distance.

A return is said to look unlikely.

In a statement a Bakers spokesperson said: “Mr Helmy continues to be actively practising and managing our firm’s Cairo office. He has not relocated to our London office.”