Egyptian media is reporting on the ongoing trial concerning what Egyptian authorities describes as money laundering by the Muslim Brotherhood International Organization. According to a report in Al-Ahram:
The Giza Criminal Court heard witnesses today in the-so-called ‘Muslim Brotherhood International Organization case,’ in which charges were pressed against five Muslim Brotherhood (MB) members for money laundering and financing MB activities. The court cross-examined the only defendant present in the courtroom, Osmama Soliman, a medical doctor and owner of a money exchange company. The other four defendants, Ashraf Mohamed, Wagdy Ghoneim, Awad El-Qerany and Ibrahim Mounir, are being tried in absentia.The first witness heard today was Hisham Zein of State Security. Zein alleged that prior to Israel’s war on Gaza in 2009 several MB activists organized more than one conference in Britain, where they claimed to be raising funds for Gaza. However, Zein testified, some of the money was sent to Egypt by the accused Ibrahim Mounir. Mounir, according to the witness, invested the money in a partnership project with a Syrian businessman and profits were sent to a second defendant, Osama Soliman, who in turn invested the money in MB activities in Egypt. The witness also stated that the money laundering unit at the central bank notified that Osama Soliman had received a transfer amount of EU2.7 million, which investigations later showed were sent from abroad and were going to be used for MB activities. When the witness was asked whether he had recorded proof of these claims, he replied that he did not.Soliman attended court today on a wheelchair as he had recently suffered a heart attack. The attack had kept him at hospital for the past three months, postponing the trial several times.
Previous posts have discussed the announcement and background to the investigation. Other posts have provided background on Ibrahim Mounir, a Muslim Brotherhood leader living in exile in the UK, and on Wagdy Goneim, an Egyptian cleric known for his anti-Semitic speeches.
The International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood (IMB) can be considered to be the international leadership of the global Muslim Brotherhood most closely tied to the Egyptian organization. In 2004, a London-based Arabic newspaper identified further members of the International Organization:
The international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is an assembly of all national Brotherhood organizations, but its higher leadership is in the hands of the Egyptian organization represented in the guide and the Guidance Bureau. There are other leaders that help run the international organization, such as the Syrian Hasan Huwaydi, who is considered the third deputy of the guide, in addition to Faisal Mawlawi, leader of the Lebanese Brotherhood, Abd-Majid-Dhunaybat, controller-general of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, and the Tunisian Rashid al-Ghannushi. The London-based Egyptian, Ibrahim Munir, takes care of coordination among the organization’s members in Europe. The leaders of the international organization have held their meetings with Egypt’s Brotherhood leaders in several European countries, as it is impossible to organize such meetings in Egypt, where the group is banned and targeted by security authorities.
It should be noted that the Muslim Brotherhood today has become a global network and that the Egyptian mother branch is not necessarily the most important part of the movement. Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi, close to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, is often referred to by the GMBDW as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide stating only that
..he had consciously decided not to limit his scope of manoeuvre by tying himself ‘any movement which might constrain my actions, even if this is the Muslim Brotherhood under whose umbrella I grew and which I so defended…Would I, at the age of 77, accept what I turned down when I was 49?’
Since some of the leaders of the IMB are also closely tied to Qaradawi, Faisal Mawlawi for example, there may be overlap between the leadership structures of the IMB and Global Muslim Brotherhood but further research is need to clarify these relationships. A previous post details what is currently known about the IMB.