A lawsuit was filed on Monday in an attempt to suspend the reconciliation declared between the current government and fugitive tycoon and ally to former president Hosni Mubarak, Hussein Salem.
The lawsuit was filed in response to the Justice Ministry’s recent declaration that the government completed a deal to move 75% of Salem’s financial wealth to the state.
Lawyers Ali Ayoub and Hamido Gameil filed it in the administrative court affiliated with the State Council. The lawsuit calls on the current government to suspend the reconciliation decision issued recently with Salem, declaring the decision illegal.
“The lawsuit filed calls for the government not to remove Hussien Salem from the travel ban list and to refreeze his assets. It is filed against the prime minister, the justice minister, the prosecutor-general, the justice minister’s assistant, and head of the Illicit Gains Authority, and Hussein Salem himself,” Lawyer Ali Ayoub told Daily News Egypt on Tuesday.
The reconciliation decision violates article No. 14 from code No. 97 issued in 2015 that criminalises Salem over charges of financial corruption and assaulting public assets, and obligates the state to apply a travel ban and asset freeze on him, Ayoub clarified.
According to the reconciliation decision issued by government, Salem, along with his family, facing Salem. Moreover, all asset freeze decisions will be removed.
The reconciliation decision was announced by the justice minister’s assistant and head of Illicit Gains Committee, Adel El-Said, during a press conference held in the ministry’s headquarters. El-Said noted that Salem gave EGP 5bn to the state out of his overall fortune that reaches EGP 7bn.
The deal was based on an initiative launched in 2013 by Salem, through which he suggested forfeiting 75% of his local assets and 55% of his assets abroad to the government in exchange for waiving all corruption charges against him.
Salem, who fled to Spain after the 25 January Revolution, recently started negotiations with the current regime to drop corruption charges against him in return for repaying a fraction of the value of the funds he is alleged to have embezzled.
In 2000, Salem was accused of illegally acquiring lands for a price significantly lower than their 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.
Earlier in March, Salem said in a phone interview with a TV channel that he donated his private jet, worth EGP 100m, to Egypt’s intelligence agency.
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 exporting it to India without paying the state the share of the profits mandated by the law governing mineral resource extraction.
Recent amendments to the Illicit Gains Law allow Mubarak regime figures to cede their wealth to the state in exchange for the dismissal of corruption charges. Former ousted justice minister Ahmed Al-Zind has been campaigning for the reconciliation forms since October 2015, claiming it is the only way to retain Egypt’s embezzled funds held abroad.