Middle East

Egypt accepts Spain's conditions for tycoon's handover

Hussein Salem (file)
Image caption Hussein Salem was charged in Egypt with fraud and financial speculation

Egypt has accepted Spain's conditions for the extradition of a tycoon who was a close associate of Hosni Mubarak, legal sources have told BBC Arabic.

Egyptian officials have promised Hussein Salem a free and fair trial, clearing the way for his transfer.

Spain's National Court ordered the 78-year-old's extradition last month.

After his arrest on money laundering and corruption charges in June, police froze 32.5m euros in his bank accounts and properties worth 10m euros.

Money was allegedly obtained illegally in Egypt and sent to accounts in Spain held by Mr Salem through companies created by a Turkish "frontman".

Many Egyptians are demanding that businessmen who enriched themselves through alleged corruption under former President Hosni Mubarak should face justice.

Gas deal

Mr Salem is reported to have left Egypt on 3 February 2011, eight days before Mr Mubarak was forced to resign by a popular uprising.

He was charged in Egypt with fraud and financial speculation in May along with Mr Mubarak and the ex-president's two sons, Alaa and Gamal. Their trial ended last month and a verdict is expected in June.

Mr Salem was detained by Spanish police in June 2011 along with his son, Khaled, and Ali Evsen, a Turkish businessman who is alleged to have set up the companies used to funnel money from Egypt to Spain.

They appeared the next day before magistrates at the National Court in the Spanish capital. Bail was set for all three - with Mr Salem receiving a record bail figure of 27m euros ($36m; £22m).

On 2 March this year, the National Court informed the Egyptian ambassador that it had "agreed to hand Hussein Salem and his son Khaled to Egypt".

Mr Salem is alleged to have siphoned $714m (£446m; 536 euros) in public money out of a deal to sell natural gas to Israel.

Prosecutors say Mr Mubarak allowed a company in which Mr Salem was a major shareholder to buy gas from the government at below market price, and then resold the gas to Israel at a substantial mark-up.

Mr Mubarak is also alleged to have allowed Mr Salem to buy a large amount of land on Egypt's Red Sea coast from the government at a discounted price in return for five luxury villas.