Mubarak-era business tycoon acquitted of money laundering charges

Cairo Criminal Court acquitted Mubarak-era energy business tycoon Hussein Salem along with his son and daughter on Tuesday, in their retrial on money laundering charges related to gas export to Israel.

Cairo Criminal Court sentenced the once fugitive businessman, his son, Khaled and daughter Magda to seven years in prison in absentia in October of 2011, and fined them US$4,006,319,000. The Court of Cassation accepted Salem’s appeal against the ruling later.

The case was the last being considered by Egyptian courts against Salem.

The Cairo Criminal Court also acquitted Salem in May, in a retrial for the case known as the “Israel gas export deal.”

The court had previously acquitted Salem and former president Hosni Mubarak in the case but the public prosecutor appealed the acquittal and a retrial was held.

The court said Salem has already reconciled with the state and returned the money he had illegally acquired through the deal.

In December 2016, Salem and his family’s lawyer Mahmoud Kebeish submitted a court warning to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and Justice Minister Hossam Abdel Rehim to overturn the freeze of the Salem family’s assets.

The warning stated that on August 2, 2016, a final reconciliation was concluded between the Egyptian government and the Salem family over financial corruption charges, upon which the family’s seized funds should have been released.

The Chairman of the Illicit Gains Authority, Adel al-Saeed, announced in August of 2016, a reconciliation deal agreed on between the authority and Salem, along with members of his family.

Saeed said in a press conference at the Justice Ministry headquarters on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, that a deal was signed with Salem and his family members in return for LE5.341 billion, equal to 75 percent of his officially-registered wealth.

The officially recorded wealth of Salem at around LE7.122 billion, who now holds Spanish nationality.

Saeed explained that, if any other property is identified in the future as belonging to Salem, it will automatically be transferred to the state, in accordance with the deal.

An extension of the deal is the names of Salem and several other fugitive family members have been removed from Interpol’s Red Notice list, and the freeze on his Egyptian properties should be removed.

Salem was implicated in multiple court cases, one of which involved the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Company that exports gas to Israel.

Another case involved Al-Bayedeya lands in Luxor, a case that also implicates Alaa and Gamal Mubarak.

Salem was also accused of profiting from his relationship with ousted president Hosni Mubarak and embezzling public money.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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