Fugitive businessman Hussein Salem said he donated his private jet, worth EGP 100m, to the Egyptian intelligence agency, in a phone interview with a TV channel on Saturday.
Salem, who fled to Spain after the 2011 uprising, recently started negotiations with the current government to drop corruption charges against him in return for repaying a fraction the of the value of the funds he is alleged to have embezzled.
A report from the administrative prosecution accused Salem of squandering public funds and embezzling them for personal use. A mining company owned by Salem was accused of extracting phosphate and uranium and importing it to India without paying the state the share of the profits mandated by the law governing mineral resource extraction.
In 2000, Salem was accused of illegally acquiring lands for a price significantly lower than normal actual value, at as little as EGP 20 per metre. He built hundreds of villas on these lands, located near the Red Sea. The villas were ordered to be demolished. However, it is widely believed that the order was never executed due to Salem’s ties with the Mubarak family.
Recent amendments to the illicit gains law allow Mubarak regime figures to restore their wealth to the state by which they will secure the dismissal of corruption charges. Justice Minister Ahmed Al-Zind has been campaigning for filling the reconciliation forms since October 2015, claiming it is the only way to retain Egypt’s embezzled funds held abroad.
Eight judicial committees have been formed since 2011 to follow up on the money embezzled to foreign private banks, including those based in Switzerland. However, the committees have failed to retain control of the funds as most of the corruption-related charges against Mubarak-regime figures have been dismissed.
There are at least CHF 590m in frozen assets in Swiss banks, a cumulative value made up of the holdings of a total of 14 accused officials, including former president Hosni Mubarak and his family.
Salem’s defence lawyer, Mahmoud Kobeish, said Salem contributed to the Tahya Masr fund in a bid to drop charges against him. Daily News Egypt tried to reach Kobeish, but he was not available for comment.
Al-Zind previously said he and Salem reached an agreement to restore EGP 10bn in return for settling all financial corruption charges against him.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, the Cairo Criminal Court adjourned proceedings in the infamous corruption trial of former interior minister Habib Al-Adly and other ministerial officials. New information as to the extent of the Al-Adly’s embezzlement was discovered case after Al-Adly and other intelligence and ministry officials refunded a total of EGP 178m of the EGP 2bn they are alleged to have embezzled.
Al-Adly is charged with exploiting the ministry’s budget for ministerial bonuses for personal gain through his position as interior minister. Al-Adly is reported to have personally gained from this corrupt practice as much as he also paid large sums of money to officers and senior ministry officials from the ministry’s budget.