Egypt: Suzanne Mubarak detained in corruption probe

Suzanne Mubarak Mrs Mubarak's husband had already been detained by investigators

The wife of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been detained for 15 days pending further investigations into corruption allegations.

The 70-year-old was later moved to an intensive care unit in Sharm el-Sheikh hospital after suffering what officials said was a suspected heart attack.

Mr Mubarak stepped down in February after weeks of protests.

He and Mrs Mubarak have been questioned over allegations of "illegal acquisition of wealth".

Mr Mubarak, who held power for 30 years, is currently receiving treatment Sharm el-Sheikh hospital while under arrest.

Mohammed Fathallah, the head of the hospital, said Mrs Mubarak had suffered a "suspected heart attack and a sharp increase in blood pressure" after she was told she would be detained. He added she would be kept in the intensive care unit, under observation, for 24 hours.

Mr Mubarak has been detained by Egypt's Illicit Gains Authority, on charges he abused his position to illegally acquire wealth. He is also accused of involvement in the killings of anti-regime protesters.

Fall from grace

The 83-year-old has been held under arrest in the hospital in the Red Sea resort since suffering heart problems. His detention was extended by 15 days early on Friday morning.

Mrs Mubarak had kept an almost constant vigil by her husband's side since he was admitted to hospital a month ago, says the BBC's Jonathan Head, in Cairo.

Suzanne Mubarak

  • Born 28 February 1941
  • Studied politics and sociology at the American University of Cairo
  • First Lady of Egypt from 1981 until 2011
  • Seen as driving force behind plans for her son Gamal to succeed father as president
  • Interrogated about a luxury villa she owns in Cairo, as well as $3m bank account
  • Ms Mubarak is half-Welsh, her mother Lily having grown up in Pontypridd
  • She is also famous as the patron of children's TV show Alam Simsim, Egypt's version of Sesame Street

Her detention marks a dramatic fall for a woman once seen as the most powerful influence on Egypt's former ruler, and a further blow to Mr Mubarak, whose health is frail, our correspondent says.

While the initial period of her detention is 15 days, it could be extended, as it has been for her husband and their two sons since they were taken into custody, he adds.

Earlier this week, Mrs Mubarak was questioned about a bank account containing more than $3m (£1.9m) and a luxury house she owns.

Reformers in Egypt believe the Mubarak family accumulated a fortune worth tens of billions of dollars while in power.

Hosni Mubarak has denied this, and little hard evidence has yet been made public. However their bank accounts in Cairo and in Switzerland have been frozen.

Many Egyptians also believe the former first lady was instrumental in pushing for her eldest son, Gamal, to succeed his father - one of the grievances that mobilised opposition protesters, our correspondent says.

Travel ban

The military council which has been in power since Mr Mubarak stepped down has vowed to bring to justice all those accused of corruption.

The former president, his wife, their two sons and their wives have been banned from travel and had their assets frozen by general prosecutor Abdel Magid Mahmud.

More than 20 ministers and businessmen linked to Mr Mubarak's regime have been detained since his departure from office.

Last week, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly was sentenced to 12 years in jail on charges of money-laundering and profiteering.

Adly also faces separate charges of ordering troops to fire on demonstrators. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

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