An audio recording in which former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak expresses his support for ex-army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's presidential bid has been deemed fake by the ousted leader's lawyer.
Farid El-Deeb, Mubarak's lawyer, told several news channels on Wednesday that the recording with local Arabic newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm couldn't be real as Mubarak is too sick to conduct an interview.
In the alleged recording, Mubarak says he believes no one but El-Sisi is viable for the country's top post. He also denigrates the former defence minister's main contender – Nasserist politician and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi – who he says wouldn't be suitable for the presidency.
Mubarak criticises Sabahi and accuses him of using former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel-Nasser's image for political purposes, and says that Abdel-Nasser held the country with an "iron grip" and that Sabahi will "kick everyone" once in power.
A spokesperson for Sabahi's presidential campaign said the statements prove Sabahi – and not El-Sisi – is the real candidate of the revolution.
In the four-minute interview, Mubarak responds to a question about the Muslim Brotherhood's future role, saying he is apprehensive and claims the US is withholding arms shipments on the condition that the Brotherhood is allowed to re-enter politics.
The US is currently withholding its annual aid package to Egypt – including new Apache helicopters – pending "progress towards democracy" in Egypt.
"They want us to kneel to them," Mubarak says, referring to the US, adding that he consistently refused to give in to their demands while president.
Mubarak was, however, widely criticised for maintaining friendly relations with the US during his 30-year rule.
Mubarak also accuses the Brotherhood of having tried to hand over the Suez Canal's eastern bank to Israeli companies posing as belonging to other foreign nationalities, claiming that the group wanted to use the east bank as a gateway to take over the Sinai Peninsula, without elaborating any further.
When the interviewer tells Mubarak that some Egyptians want him and his son Gamal to run for the presidency, Mubarak says, laughing, that he's had enough after serving the country for 60 years.
The ousted president praises the interior minister serving during his last years, Habib El-Adly, for imposing an "iron fist" on Egypt rather than allowing the country to face disaster.
Both Mubarak and El-Adly are facing trial for the murder of protesters during the 18-day uprising in 2011, when at least 850 were killed.
Mubarak was released from custody last August but remains under house arrest at a military hospital in Cairo's upper-class suburb of Maadi.
The interview was – according to Al-Masry Al-Youm – conducted to dispel rumours the former autocrat had died.
Mubarak is almost 86 years old and rumours of his death occasionally surface. His health deteriorated during the last years of his rule, when he was frequently flown abroad for treatment.