- Middle East/North Africa
Farouk Hosni, the former minister of culture who served under the Mubarak regime for 20 years, was referred to the Criminal Court by the Illegal Gains Authority on Tuesday on charges of illicit gains.
Hosni has been asked to repay LE18 million, an amount that includes LE9 million that the former minister allegedly acquired illegally during his work for the government, and another LE9 million in fines.
Investigations into Hosni began soon after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted on 11 February 2011. He was initially banned from travel, but that ban was lifted a few months later.
Late in his career, Hosni had run for the position of UNESCO director-general, but did not receive the post after telling Egypt’s Parliament that he would personally burn any Israeli books if they were available in Egypt. He then denied harboring any anti-Semitic views, but did not succeed in persuading member states to elect him. The former minister attributed the failure to a Zionist plot.
Egyptian intellectuals have stated that Hosni did not achieve any real progress in the field of culture during his career, but remained in office for two decades due only to his close relationship to the Mubarak family.
Hosni was roundly criticized when in 2010, Van Gogh’s “Poppy Flowers” was stolen from a Cairo museum. Investigations revealed that 30 out of 47 surveillance cameras in the museum were not working.
He had also offended Islamists when he said he was against women wearing headscarves.
Hosni joins many other former officials and businessmen associated with the Mubarak regime who have been referred to the Criminal Court on corruption charges, a main demand of the revolution.
Edited translation from AFP