Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Spain to handover Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem

According to a number of sources, Egypt has accepted Spain's conditions for the extradition of businessman -and former friend of Hosni Mubarak - Hussein Salem. The Egyptian authorities have promised Salem a fair trial, clearing the way for his handover.

Spain ordered Salem's extradition last month. Following his arrest in June on suspicion of money laundering and corruption, police froze €32.5 million in his bank accounts and properties worth €10 million.

The funds were allegedly obtained illegally in Egypt and sent to Salem's accounts in Spain through companies created by a Turkish "frontman". Salem is believed to have absconded on 3 February 2011, just over a week before Mubarak was forced to resign.

Salem was charged in Egypt with fraud in May, along with Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal. The outcome of the trial, which ended last month, is expected in June. Salem was detained in Spain in June 2011 with his son Khaled, and a Turkish businessman and associate Ali Evsen.

On 2 March 2012, Spain's National Court informed the Egyptian ambassador that it had "agreed to hand Hussein Salem and his son Khaled to Egypt". It is estimated that Salem has allegedly appropriated $714 million in public funds out of a deal to sell gas to Israel. It is thought that Mubarak allowed a company in which Salem was a major shareholder to buy gas from the government below market price, and then resold it to Israel at a substantial mark-up.

Sources: BBC News, AP, Reuters

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

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