Hussein Salem investigated for evading LE90 million in taxes

Assistant Public Prosecutor Adel Saeed on Tuesday said that Public Prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud ordered investigation into fugitive businessman Hussein Salem evading payment of some LE90 million in taxes owed for a period of up to 15 years.

The amount is due on returns from renting property in Heliopolis, the Movenpick Hotel and 18 villas in Sharm el-Sheikh. Salem did not formally notify the Tax Authority of these properties.

Saeed added in a press statement that experts in both the Justice Ministry and the Illicit Gains Authority are conducting the investigation.

In June, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Salem, a close ally of former President Hosni Mubarak, and former Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy to 15 years in prison for their involvement in Egypt’s notorious gas deal with Israel.

Egypt has an extradition request pending for Salem, who was arrested in Spain last June. On 11 June, state-run MENA news agency reported that the Spanish Constitutional Court has suspended the extradition of Salem to Egypt until his request for asylum is answered.

Prior to this, a Spanish national court had ordered the handover of Salem on the grounds that he is exploiting his Spanish nationality to evade extradition.

Salem fled to Spain during Egypt’s 25 January uprising last year. Following Mubarak's resignation, Egypt called on Interpol to arrest Salem for bribery, abuse of power and squandering public money. The Spanish government then found evidence implicating him in money laundering in Spain.

Salem was accused of giving Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, luxury villas in Sharm el-Sheikh for free, although they are valued at more than 5 million euros, in return for Mubarak granting him more than 2 million square meters of land in the same area.

The Cairo Criminal Court acquitted the defendants on 2 June, saying the sales in question occurred more than 10 years ago, which is beyond the statute of limitations for non-state employees to be prosecuted on corruption charges.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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