Court rejects request to freeze assets of former minister

The Cairo Criminal Court rejected on Thursday a request by the Justice Ministry’s Illicit Gains Authority to freeze the assets of former Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, which the IGA made after referring him to the criminal court on 3 September.

According to Egyptian law, a freezing order has to be approved by a court. The court is expected to set a date to begin Hosni’s trial over charges leveled by the IGA.

During its most recent session on Wednesday, the court heard Hosni's defense lawyer who described the freezing request as “impetuous and contradictory.” The lawyer said the IGA interrogated his client in May 2011 and that the interrogator told him his wealth was legally created.

The Illicit Gains Authority asked Hosni to repay LE18 million, an amount that includes LE9 million that the former minister allegedly acquired illegally during his work for the government, and another LE9 million in fines.

Investigations into Hosni began soon after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted on 11 February 2011. He was initially banned from travel, but that ban was lifted a few months later.

Hosni joins many other former officials and businessmen associated with the Mubarak regime who have been referred to criminal court on corruption charges, a main demand of the revolution.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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