A statement issued early Friday by Egypt’s interior ministry states that well-known businessman and leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan Malek, was arrested Thursday for plans to “smuggle foreign currency out of the country in an attempt to harm Egypt’s economy.”
According to the statement, Malek and four other members of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested after the National Security Agency received information that the group was planning to harm the Egyptian economy by "gathering foreign currency from the market" in order to "destabilise the price of the US dollar" in Egypt.
The five are accused of using foreign exchange companies affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood to smuggle money, especially foreign currency, out of the country.
Egypt is facing a currency crisis due to what many economists consider to be an overvalued pound.
Hassan Malek was arrested at his home in New Cairo's Fifth Settlement Thursday evening after a warrant was issued by the prosecution, the ministry of interior said in its statement.
All of Malek’s assets have been frozen since September 2014 when the North Cairo Criminal Court upheld a decision by the prosecutor general to freeze the assets of prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
Since the 1990's, Hassan Malek has been considered one of the most prominent Muslim Brotherhood businessmen along with his business partner, the now-jailed deputy chairman of the Brotherhood in Egypt, Khairat El-Shater.
His commercial and industrial ventures included textile manufacturing, electrical supplies, and furniture.
Since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, Malek, who was not charged like other leading Brotherhood figures with criminal wrongdoing, has kept a low profile.
However, Malek’s son, Omar, was sentenced to death last April on a number of charges, including setting up an "operation room" at the protest camp that supported ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo's Rabaa Al-Adawiya in 2013.
The Muslim Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government in November 2013.