Prosecutor denies report on deal to nationalize Hussein Salem assets

Public Funds Prosecutor Mostafa al-Husseiny has denied reaching a deal with businessman Hussein Salem’s lawyer over nationalizing half his assets in return for dropping the case against him, contradicting an earlier report from state paper Al-Akhbar Al-Youm.

Husseiny said Saturday that Salem’s lawyer suggested the businessman give up half his assets, but prosecutors rejected the suggestion, saying they need more time to estimate the worth of his assets.

Husseiny criticized the media for publishing unconfirmed news, especially with public funds cases — particularly Salem’s case.

The Public Funds Prosecution is still reviewing Salem’s case to prepare for estimating how much money he owes to the state, so the case can be presented to Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah for his review.

Al-Akhbar Al-Youm had earlier said Egyptian prosecutors have reached an agreement with Salem in which the country would receive half of his property and assets both in Egypt and abroad.

The paper claimed the deal would grant Egypt four hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh, an Hurghada resort, a water company and liquid funds in banks, quoting Husseiny as the source, and saying the decision would allow Salem to run some facilities himself.

Husseiny said he met with European Union judicial delegations a few days ago and that they praised the negotiations with Salem as a step toward helping Egypt recover looted funds, according to Al-Akhbar Al-Youm.

Salem’s lawyer, Tarek Abdel Aziz, had met with Husseiny in January and suggested that Salem would give up half his properties in exchange for dropping all charges against him.

Abdel Aziz added that in the event of a deal, Salem would allow all state auditing agencies to reach his possessions and assets inside and outside of Egypt.

He also added that his client insisted on reconciliation, despite the Spanish government’s refusal to extradite him to Egypt, because he wants to live with his family in peace.

Salem fled Egypt for Spain amid the 25 January revolution two years ago. A confidante and adviser to former President Hosni Mubarak, he is charged with corruption related to the Egypt-Israel gas deal.

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