Trial of former chief of presidential staff starts Monday

Zakariya Azmy, a former top aide to Hosni Mubarak, the country's ousted president, will be brought before Cairo Criminal Court on Monday on charges of corruption.

On April 7, Azmy, Mubarak's chief of staff for 22 years, was arrested after being accused by state prosecutors of using his position to amass a personal fortune. He was questioned by Essam al-Gawahry, a senior Justice Ministry official heading a committee in charge of uncovering corruption during Mubarak's 30-year rule.

After four months of investigation, prosecutors said that he had abused his power as chief of the presidential staff, a member of parliament and in other leading positions in the dissolved National Democratic Party. He was referred to court after Gawahry froze his assets.

Azmy is one of a series of officials from the former regime to be investigated and have their assets frozen in response to demands by revolutionary forces for tougher action against officials who they accused of amassing wealth at the expense of ordinary Egyptians.

Azmy's brother-in-law, Gamal Abdel Monem Halawa, will be tried with him on similar charges. Investigations indicated that Halawa hid real estate that he owns from the tax authorities, relying for protection on his kinship to Azmy.

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