Salem would serve part of sentence in Spain, justice minister says

Assem al-Gohary, head of the Illicit Gains Authority, has said that Justice Minister Adel Abdel Hamid on Tuesday approved the most important guarantee required by Spain in order for it to hand over fugitive businessman Hussein Salem, his daughter Magda and his son Khaled to Egypt, namely that the three serve part of their sentences in Spain in case they are convicted by an Egyptian court.

Gohary told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the minister signed an agreement which also stipulates that the defendants should not be sentenced to death. The document was sent to Spain through diplomatic bodies.

Egyptian ambassador to Madrid Ayman Zein said the embassy is contacting the Spanish authorities in order to finalize procedures for the Salems to be extradited to Egypt.

On Friday, the Spanish Supreme Court approved the extradition of Khaled and Magda Salem. It confirmed a verdict issued by another Spanish court in March to extradite them for retrial over charges of money laundering, seizing state lands and exporting natural gas to Israel at low prices.

A close friend of Hosni Mubarak, Salem fled to Spain during Egypt's 25 January uprising last year. After Mubarak's resignation, Egypt called on Interpol to arrest Salem for bribery, abuse of power, and squandering public money. He was then monitored by the Spanish government, which found evidence implicating him in money laundering in Spain.

On 10 October 2011, the Spanish secretary of state announced that Spain intended to hand Salem, who has both Egyptian and Spanish citizenship, to the Egyptian authorities for trial on charges of corruption.

Salem was tried in absentia by Cairo's Criminal Court. The court is also considering the case of Mubarak's corruption, and is scheduled to issue a verdict on 2 June.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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