Mubarak-era tycoon gives up land as part of reconciliation deal with government

Sunday 03-04-2016 09:39 PM

Hussein Salem - Photo from al-Shorouk newspaper

CAIRO, Apr 3 (Aswat Masriya) - The defence of Mubarak-era fugitive businessman Hussein Salem announced on Sunday that Salem will give up an island  for which he is accused of wasting public funds, as part of a reconciliation deal with the government. 

The announcement that Salem would give up the al-Bayada island was made before the criminal court, which resumed today the trial of Salem, Mubarak-era Agriculture Minister Youssef Wali and others in the case dubbed as "al-Bayada island case". The defendants are charged with selling the island, which is located in Luxor, to Salem at a low price and wasting more than EGP 700 million (around $78.8 million) of public funds. 

After Salem's defence announced his intention to give up the land, the court postponed the trial to May 10.

Egypt's former justice minister Ahmed al-Zend said last March in a TV interview with privately-owned TV channel CBC that Egypt reached a final settlement for reconciliation with Salem, who is accused in other cases as well. 

The settlement includes payments to be made by Salem in addition to giving assets he owns to the state. 

Salem had fled Egypt to Spain after being charged of wasting public money in the wake of the 2011 Uprising, which led to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak after he ruled the country for 30 years. Salem is known for being an associate of Mubarak. 

Salem was sentenced in absentia in several cases for profiteering from his relation with Mubarak, the illegal acquisition of land in Luxor and charges related to exporting gas to Israel.  Egyptian law does not allow for appealing against sentences issued in absentia; rather, convicts are required to repeat trials' procedures after they turn themselves in to the authorities.

Salem was acquitted of the charge of exporting gas to Israel below market prices, in February 2014. 

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