Cairo-Egyptian authorities on Wednesday concluded an official reconciliation with fugitive businessman Hussein Salem and his family after they agreed to move 75 percent of their wealth to the state.
The deal will allow them to return to Egypt without facing prosecution after their names were removed from blacklists abroad and INTERPOL’s wanted list.
Salem was an ally of Egypt’s deposed president Hosni Mubarak. He was arrested in 2011 under an INTERPOL warrant in Spain, where he fled in the aftermath of the 18-day popular uprising over charges of squandering public funds.
An Egyptian court sentenced him in absentia to seven years in jail and fines totaling more than $4 billion in 2011 after convicting him of money laundering and profiteering. He later faced further graft-related convictions but was cleared in 2014 of charges related to gas exports to Israel along with Mubarak and a former oil minister.
A Justice Minister aide and head of the Illicit Gains Authority, Adel El-Said, announced on Wednesday that the reconciliation deal was official.
He said the charges against Salem and his family were dropped in exchange for giving up around EGP 5.3 billion. This figure accounts for 75 percent of the businessman’s assets inside and outside Egypt.
Said told a press conference that Salem and his family admitted that they have provided all the information regarding their wealth and assets.
If the authorities discovered that they have more assets, which were not made public, then the state would immediately take control of them, he said.
The reconciliation deal also compels Salem to pay all his debts, Said told reporters.
The official said that Salem’s decision to give up his wealth was unprecedented in Egypt. He urged other figures who have been accused of squandering public funds to take a similar move and avoid prosecution.