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Egypt wants Mubarak-era tycoon's foreign assets unfrozen

24 August 2016, 12:12

Cairo - Egyptian authorities said on Tuesday they are asking foreign countries to unfreeze the assets of a close associate of former president Hosni Mubarak after he paid back three quarters of his wealth.

Egypt asked Spain, Switzerland and Hong Kong to unblock tycoon Hussein Salem's foreign-held assets after he handed over 75% of his and his family's wealth in exchange for dropping corruption cases against him.

Salem, once a close associate of Mubarak, fled to Spain after the January 2011 uprising that overthrew Mubarak. He has already been sentenced to 15 years in prison in another corruption trial.

The decision by a committee tasked with retrieving illicit funds and assets followed Egypt's retrieval of Salem's assets and funds totalling $600m the Egyptian prosecutor general said in a Tuesday statement.

The decision also called on Interpol to remove Salem's name from its "Red Notice" list and to lift travel bans on him and his family.

Salem is one of the founders of a company that exported Egyptian natural gas to Israel under Mubarak. Corruption charges against Salem alleged that the company sold gas to Israel below market prices.

Spanish authorities arrested Salem in June 2011 after a request from Egypt though he was released on bail a few days later. He has been banned from leaving Spain since then.

Several other Mubarak-era officials have sought to cut a deal with the state in corruption cases including Mubarak's longtime chief-of-staff Zakaria Azmi and former trade minister Rasheed Mohammed Rasheed.



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