Former presidential candidate Shafiq referred to court on graft charges
Ahram Online, Tuesday 11 Sep 2012
Judicial source says ex-presidential candidate is under investigation for the illegal sale of 40,000 acres of state land; Mubarak sons to face same charges


Former Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq is to be referred to Cairo Criminal Court on corruption charges, a Justice Ministry official told Reuters on Tuesday.



Osama El-Seidi said that the ex-aviation minister is accused of presiding over the illegal sale of 40,000 acres of state land to the sons of former president Hosni Mubarak.



Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, currently facing charges of stock market manipulation, will also be referred to court.



The accusation against Shafiq had previously been made by former Egyptian MP Essam Sultan, leading to the ex-minister's name being added to Egyptian airport watchlists on 29 August.



Speaking to Ahram's Arabic-language news website from the United Arab Emirates, Shafiq said that the charges were expected and that he awaits the results of investigations.



It is only the latest legal complaint to be filed against Shafiq, who was a long-serving figure in the regime of Hosni Mubarak.



Shafiq's lawyer Yahya Qadri, also speaking to Al-Ahram, stressed his client's innocence of all graft charges which he said were groundless.



Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed El-Beltagi previously accused Shafiq of slandering the Islamist group.



Another complaint, filed by El-Beltagi and Salafist preacher Safwat Hegazi, accused Shafiq of concealing evidence regarding the murder of protesters during Egypt's early 2011 uprising, when Shafiq served as Mubarak's prime minister. That complaint was recently referred to Egypt's justice minister.



Shafiq travelled to the UAE in late June after he lost the presidential election to the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi.



It was later revealed that Shafiq plans to remain in the UAE for "security reasons."

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