Spain closer to extraditing Hussein Salem, says official

A Spanish court is expected to meet within the next three months to hear an Egyptian government request for the extradition of businessman Hussein Salem, according to an Egyptian judicial official on Tuesday.

Salem is wanted in Egypt on charges of corruption in a number of cases.

In a statement, Assistant Justice Minister Assem al-Gohary, who is also head of the Illicit Gains Authoriy, said that according to Spanish law, a Spanish court must issue a decision within three days of considering an extradition request.

In June, the Egyptian government formally requested that Spain extradite Salem to Egypt so that he could face trial on charges of squandering public funds and abusing of his authority for personal gain.

Salem is currently being tried in absentia by the Cairo Criminal Court alongside ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, his two sons Alaa and Gamal, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six of his top aides.

Salem, a close personal friend of Mubarak, fled from Egypt on 3 February, eight days before Mubarak stepped down as president after a popular uprising. Salem was arrested in Madrid in June for his alleged involvement in money laundering. His son Khaled and daughter Magda were arrested on related charges in July.

Spanish authorities froze 32 million euros of his assets that are believed to have been acquired through illegal activities. They also froze assets in Madrid and Marbella worth 10 million euros, along with five luxury vehicles.

In his statement on Tuesday, Gohary said the Spanish authorities had set a date of 16 January for the consideration of the extradition request for Salem’s daughter Magda.

According to the statement, Gohary instructed a delegation from the the Egyptian judiciary committee to travel to Sapin to recover stolen funds. The delegation, which includes consultants Ahmed Sadam Aser Harb and Ahmed Ali, will attend Magda Hussein Salem's extradition hearing.

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