Egypt govt reaches reconciliation deal with Mubarak-era tycoon Hussein Salem

Wednesday 03-08-2016 04:21 PM

Hussein Salem - Photo from El- Shorouk

CAIRO, Aug 3 (Aswat Masriya) - Egyptian government reached a reconciliation deal with Mubarak-era businessman Hussein Salem and his family, a justice ministry official said on Wednesday.

The government agreed to drop outstanding corruption charges against them, end asset freezes and travel bans in exchange for surrendering assets worth EGP 5.3 billion which constitutes 75 per cent of their total financial assets both inside Egypt and abroad.

The total amount of Salem's assets are worth over EGP 7.12 billion, said assistant justice minister Adel al-Saeed during a press conference on Wednesday. 

Salem, who fled Egypt during the 25 January revolution which led to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak after he ruled the country for 30 years, is a dual Spanish-Egyptian citizen.

The 82-year-old businessman, who currently resides in Spain, was handed jail sentences in absentia for illegally acquiring public property and squandering public funds.

Salem was particularly known for his involvement in exporting gas to Israel below market value for which he was handed a 15-year prison sentence. He was sentenced in absentia in several other cases for profiteering from his relation with Mubarak and the illegal acquisition of land in Luxor.

Saeed said that the Illicit Gains Authority received 26 requests from businessmen who are seeking reconciliation arrangements. The justice ministry official said that 10 requests were accepted and a total of EGP 302 million were collected. 

Introduced last year, the amendments to the illicit gains law made possible the attempts to reconcile with those accused of money laundering and embezzlement in exchange for them paying their liabilities to the state.

Egypt ranked 88 out of 168 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index 2015, with a score of 36 on a scale where 0 means highly corrupt and 100 means corruption-free. The 2015 score represents a slight deterioration from the year before when Egypt's score was 37.

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