Mubarak-era tycoon Hussein Salem acquitted of money laundering charges

Ahram Online , Tuesday 22 Aug 2017

Salem was originally found guilty of laundering profits from an Egypt-Israel gas deal under former president Hosni Mubarak

Hussein Salem
Hussein Salem (Photo:Ahram)

Cairo Criminal Court ordered the acquittal on Tuesday of Mubarak-era business tycoon Hussein Salem of money-laundering charges linked to the export of gas to Israel.

His son Khaled and daughter Magda, who were charged in the same case, were also aquitted on Tuesday.

Salem and his offspring were originally convicted in absentia in October 2011 and sentenced to 7 years in prison and over $4 billion in fines. However, he later appealed at the Court of Cassation, which granted him a retrial, the outcome of which was Tuesday's aquittal.

Salem was accused of laundering more than $2 billion in profits he made from the deal, which was agreed between the governments of Egypt and Israel.

Earlier this year, Salem’s lawyer Mahmoud Kebbiesh, told Ahram Online that the "money laundering charges in connection with the gas export deal” represented the last criminal case against Hussein.

Salem had faced various charges relating to the gas deal.

In 2012, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison in absentia after being convicted of corruption in connection with the same Israel gas deal. He was charged of being involved in providing Egyptian natural gas to Israel at prices below the international market price.

He was later acquitted in a retrial in 2015, a ruling the prosecution later appealed. But he was finally acquitted by Cairo Criminal Court in May 2017. 

Salem, who was granted Spanish citizenship in 2008, fled to Madrid soon after the 2011 revolution that ousted long-time president Hosni Mubarak. The businessman still resides in Spain, although there has been discussion of his possible return to Egypt.

Since 2011, Salem has been sentenced to several prison terms for corruption, money laundering, seizing state-owned land, bribery, and squandering public funds.

However, in 2013, he filed several requests with the prosecution to reconcile with the Egyptian state by paying large amounts of money in exchange for charges against him and his family members being dropped.

In mid-2016, the Egyptian government agreed to settle with Salem and his family members in three corruption cases, on the condition that he pays EGP 5.3 billion.

In February, an Egyptian court unfroze the assets of Salem and his family.

Salem’s lawyer Kebbiesh said previously that the businessman had the option of returning from Spain after the reconciliation deal with the government in 2016. However, the lawyer said he had no idea when he would return.

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