AN Egyptian businessman linked to former president, Hosni Mubarak, has been arrested in Spain. Hussein Salem, who has Spanish nationality, is accused of money laundering both in Spain and in Egypt, and suspected of squandering public funds by selling gas to Israel below market prices.
Egypt’s Interpol head Magdy el-Shafie said Salem, one of Mubarak’s closest aides and a major shareholder in East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) was arrested in Mallorca. The police here have seized €33m of illegally obtained funds from several bank accounts and almost a dozen properties in La Moraleja area of Madrid and Marbella, valued at around €8m.
One of his sons, Khaled Ismail, and his front man in Spain, a Tunisian citizen, named Ali Even, who allegedly sent the money to Egypt, have also been arrested. In Egypt, he is also accused of providing a palace and four mansions in Sharm el Sheikh for Mubarak and his children in exchange for State-owned lands to the Southern Sinai.
Salem, fled the country on February 3, just days before Mubarak stepped down. It is believed that the Spanish authorities are considering extraditing Salem to Cairo.
Prosecutor General Abdelmeguid Mahmoud has ordered that court hearings on the trial of Mubarak, his two sons Alaa and Gamal and Hussein Salem should begin on August 3. However, it is not yet clear whether Mubarak will be tried before the criminal court in Cairo, or in Sharm El Sheikh for health reasons.
They face charges of ordering the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tahrir Square during the January 25 Revolution, abusing power and embezzling public funds.