CAIRO – Spanish authorities have detained a close associate of ousted President Hosni Mubarak wanted for trial at home on charges of bribing Mubarak and his family and squandering public funds, Egyptian officials said Thursday.
The head of Egypt's Interpol Brig. Gen. Magdy el-Shafei told the state's Middle East News Agency authorities are preparing the necessary documents to bring Hussein Salem back to Egypt where he faces a number of charges.
Salem, one of the most secretive businessmen in Egypt, was detained in his home in Mallorca on an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol.
He had left Egypt a week before Mubarak was forced to resign on February 11 after 18-days of protests demanding he steps down. After Mubarak's ouster, the protesters continued to press for the prosecution of Mubarak and his cronies for what they say were years of abuse and corruption.
Salem was charged last month along with Mubarak and the ex-president's two sons. Their trial is scheduled for August.
Salem, 77, is said to have won lucrative land and other deals, including exporting gas to Israel, because of his connection to Mubarak. He was a close associate of Mubarak from his early days in office three decades ago.
Salem's name was linked to some of the early developments in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, including supplying the resort with fresh water and establishing the first hotels. In his later years, Mubarak spent much of his time in the resort and headed there after he stepped down. Mubarak is being detained now a Sharm el-Sheikh hospital.
Also Thursday, an Egyptian suspected of belonging to Yemen's branch of al-Qaida was detained upon arrival in Egypt from Yemen, an airport official said.
The official said the man, his Yemeni wife and three children returned to Egypt on Thursday with false documents.
The official said interrogators identified the man as Rabie Abdullah, 42, convicted in absentia to five years in one of Egypt's largest terrorism trials in the 1990s. He was speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
The new al-Qaida leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, was sentenced in the same case along with more than 100 others, most of them in absentia. The suspects were convicted on charges ranging from forgery to conspiracy to topple the government.