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Egyptian banker charged with NY sex assault granted bail

Mahmoud Omar facing sexual assault charges in NY released on bail until next court appearance planned on June 3

Reuters, Wednesday 1 Jun 2011
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A former Egyptian banker was granted bail early on Wednesday after being arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a hotel maid at a luxury New York City hotel.

The arrest on Monday of businessman Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar came two weeks after former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged with trying to rape a hotel maid at another luxury Manhattan hotel.

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Gerald Lebovits ordered Omar, 72, freed on $25,000 cash bail and a $50,000 bond.

Omar was arrested on charges that he assaulted the maid when she delivered tissues that he requested to his room on Sunday at the Pierre Hotel on Manhattan's Upper East Side, a prosecutor told the Manhattan criminal court judge during a late-night hearing.

"The defendant grabbed her in a bear hug with his arms around her body," assistant district attorney Nicole Blumberg told the court. "He kisses her neck and her lips and he repeatedly tells her likes her."

Omar, a former chairman of the Bank of Alexandria and the Egyptian American Bank, is board chairman of El-Mex Salines Co. His attorney, Liz Beal, a public defender, said he would fight the charges.

"My client adamantly denies the charges against him," Beal said. Omar likely will hire a private attorney ahead of his next court appearance on June 3, Beal said.

Beal said she did not expect Omar to be released until later on Wednesday.

The assault was reported to police on Monday morning. Omar, of Alexandria, Egypt, was charged with sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment, forcible touching and harassment.

Prosecutors said he grabbed the maid's breasts and buttocks and rubbed his groin against her legs. Omar and the maid were fully clothed during the alleged encounter, prosecutors said.

Strauss-Kahn, now under house arrest in New York, has denied charges of a criminal sexual act, attempted rape, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.

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