Egypt presidential runner-up Shafiq acquitted of corruption charges

Ahram Online, Sunday 7 Apr 2013

UAE-based Mubarak-era premier Ahmed Shafiq is acquitted by Cairo criminal court of charges that he embezzled public funds while serving as Egypt's pre-revolution civil aviation minister


A Cairo criminal court on Sunday acquitted Mubarak-era minister Ahmed Shafiq, runner-up in last year's presidential elections, of charges that he had embezzled and squandered public funds while serving as civil aviation minister before the 2011 revolution.

Shafiq headed Egypt's civil aviation ministry from 2002 to 2011, after which he was appointed prime minister by former president Hosni Mubarak in the immediate wake of the January uprising.

After narrowly losing Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential poll in July 2012 to Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi, Shafiq departed Egypt for the United Arab Emirates, where he remains until now.

On 19 February, the office of Egypt's prosecutor-general lodged a request with international police agency Interpol for Shafiq's arrest.

Interpol, however, refused to issue an international arrest warrant for the former Air Force commander, voicing suspicions that the charges against him were "politically motivated," Egyptian state news agency MENA reported Wednesday.

From his base in the UAE, Shafiq has continued to be a vocal critic of the administration of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

On Saturday, Shafiq, along with other former Egyptian civil aviation officials, was slapped with fresh corruption charges.

The men stand accused of squandering some LE2.5 billion from Egypt's state coffers, related to their role in ordering the demolition of a building inside Cairo International Airport.

Prosecutor-General Talaat Ibrahim has tasked the East Cairo Prosecutor's Office with investigating the new charges.

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