Mubarak's last PM referred to trial for corruption

Associated Press Modified: September 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm •  Published: September 11, 2012

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities on Tuesday referred Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister to trial on corruption charges in a case involving the ousted leader's two sons and four retired generals, security and judicial officials said.

Ahmed Shafiq, a career air force officer and a longtime friend of Mubarak, was the runner-up in Egypt's presidential election in June to the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi, and has been living in the United Arab Emirates since shortly after that narrow defeat.

Shafiq, who has repeatedly denied corruption allegations and said in a television interview last week that the case against him is politically motivated, joins a long list of more than 30 Mubarak regime stalwarts, including two former prime ministers and the speakers of parliament's two chambers, to face corruption charges. Some of them have been tried and convicted while others are still on trial.

The officials said judicial authorities referred Shafiq to trial on charges of squandering public funds. The case is linked to his time as the chairman of a housing association in the 1990s when he allegedly sold plots of land at a fraction of their value to Mubarak's sons, Gamal and Alaa.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Gamal, Mubarak's onetime heir apparent, and wealthy businessman Alaa are in custody and on trial in a separate case on charges of insider trading. Their father, who ruled Egypt for 29 years until his ouster 19 months ago, is serving a life sentence for failing to prevent the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising that forced him to step down.

Shafiq has been dogged by corruption allegations, some of them linked to the decade he spent as minister of civil aviation, since shortly after Mubarak's fall. He was named prime minister in the autocrat's final days in office and was fired by the military generals who took over when the former president stepped down.

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