Mubarak-era business tycoon Hussein Salem – File Photo
CAIRO – 22 August 2017: Egyptian-Spanish billionaire Hussein Salem was cleared of money laundering charges Tuesday, in the last lawsuit filed against the business tycoon.
In its ruling, the Cairo Criminal Court acquitted Salem, his son Khaled and daughter Magda of money laundering charges.
Billionaire Salem was convicted of illegal acquisition of 35 state owned feddans (1 feddan = 1,025 acres), money laundering, and other corruption cases by Egyptian courts following the January 25 Revolution. A reconciliation deal saved the 90-year-old businessman 22 years in prison.
He was also accused of profiting from his relationship with ousted President Hosni Mubarak, and exporting gas to Israel for less than the global price in order to achieve personal benefits.
Salem, who fled to Spain after the January 25 revolution, started negotiations with authorities in 2015 to drop charges of corruption in return for repaying a fraction of funds he is suspected to have embezzled.
On May 18, the Cairo Criminal Court has acquitted Salem in the retrial of his case of exporting gas to Israel, as he was sentenced to a 15 year imprisonment in absentia after being found guilty for profiting from the gas deal in June 2012.
On March 30, Egyptian authorities unfroze Salem’s assets inside and outside Egypt; the decision to unfreeze his assets came in a February court ruling.
The reconciliation agreement entailed that Salem would give back to the state LE 5.7 billion constituting 78 percent of his wealth value of LE 7,122,466,733, according to Al-Ahram newspaper. The Egyptian billionaire has already returned LE 4.280 billion by 2016.
However, the Public Prosecution was still freezing his assets in Egypt which were in the value of $1.7 billion because the settlement was with the Illegal Earning Authority, while the Public Prosecution was in charge of the money laundering and exporting gas to Israel lawsuits.