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Chronology of a 5-month hunt for Mubarak's top crony

Hussein Salem's name was uttered in five months more often than it has been uttered in his entire life, as media reports claim he fled the country on 3 February, allegedly to Dubai then Spain

Ahram Online, Friday 17 Jun 2011
Hussein Salem
Hussein Salem

“Hussein Salem is detained in Spain. He has been arrested in his villa at Majorca and we will send all the documents to the Spanish authorities in order to bring him back to Egypt to face trial,” Major General Magdy El-Shafie, Director General of the Egyptian Interpol, told Egyptian state agency MENA on Thursday.

Salem was detained along with his son, Khaled Ismail, and a Tunisian citizen, Ali Even, on charges of money laundering, according to the news agency, which cited unnamed police officials and the New York Times newspaper. Salem will be facing several accusations of bribery, corruption, squandering public money, and unlawfully winning lucrative land and other major bids including a deal to export gas to Isreal, because of his connections to the Mubaraks. He has also been accused of handing over substantial kickbacks to the Mubarak family, including their Sharm El-Sheikh villas, which allegedly Hussein Salem sold them at well below market price.

According to the prosecution’s statement, Mubarak and the former minister of petroleum, Sameh Fahmy, are implicated in enabling Salem to make over $2 billion in profits by allowing his company to export gas to Israel allegedly at prices lower than production costs. This resulted in losses for the state estimated at $714 million, judging by the difference between the price of gas exported to Israel and international prices.

31 January

Salem is caught in Dubai with $500 million cash in his possession, according to news agency reports. These reports have neither been confirmed nor denied. The fate of the money, which is thought to belong to Mubarak's family, is not known.

3 February

Just a few days before the fall of the regime, the 77-year old businessman leaves Cairo (Salem has been on the run since). The businessman later makes a phone call to the Egyptian television channel Al-Hayat to deny claims that he left the country. It was reported that Salem and his family fled Egypt because of the turmoil in the country. The Arab media now report that Salem went to Dubai, while his family left for an unknown destination. Dubai Authorities do not confirm these claims.

10 March

The Prosecutor General decides to freeze Salem’s assets on suspicion of corruption. Cairo's Criminal Court confirms the decision to freeze all personal and family assets, including stocks, bonds and real estate, until the court investigates charges against him.

24 Apr

Airport Customs intercept 100 parcels allegedly belonging to Salem, which are headed to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The parcels weigh three tonnes together and contain paintings, antiques, carpets, gold-plated trays, gold statues, expensive watches, clocks, clothes and items that may be subject to the Egyptian Law for the Protection of Antiquities. The cargo held the name of the daughter of the head of the Saudi intelligence; her representative said these were belongings of hers retrieved from a villa of Salem's villa that she had recently bought.

24 May, 2011

The Public Prosecutor’s office announces that ousted president Hosni Mubarak, his sons, Gamal and Alaa, and Salem, are referred to the criminal courts to face charges of killing protestors during the January 25 Revolution as well as charges of abusing their political status to accumulate wealth by deliberately using state funds for personal gains.

16 June

Salem is detained in Spain on Thursday 16 June, on an international arrest warrant issued by the Interpol; he is to be deported to Egypt to stand trial.

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