A Cairo criminal court acquitted the Egyptian business tycoon Hussein Salem yesterday of “squandering public funds” in a case related to exporting Egyptian natural gas to Israel at less than the global market price.
Salem is known for being a close associate of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in 2011 following a popular uprising.
Mubarak’s 30-year era was marred by corruption and a strong influence of businessmen on the country’s political dynamics. After the 2011 uprising, Salem was convicted in a number of cases that included corruption, money laundering and seizing state property.
However, he recently entered into a reconciliation agreements with the present Sisi regime stipulating that charges against him will be dropped in exchange for Salem offering an undisclosed amount of his fortune to the Egyptian authorities.
Salem’s lawyer Mahmoud Kebeish was quoted in the Egyptian media as saying that in the next court session he will present to the court a reconciliation deal struck between Salem and the current Egyptian government, entailing the dropping of all lawsuits in which he was accused of money laundering, exporting gas to Israel at a low price and seizing state land.