By Tamim Elyan
CAIRO: Investigations into abuse of power allegations against the ex-president’s wife Suzanne Mubarak are ongoing and releasing her does not mean the case is closed, said the head of the Illicit Gains Authority Assem El-Gohary.
In a conference Wednesday at the justice ministry, El-Gohary said Suzanne Mubarak faced two charges regarding a villa and bank accounts. She was released after it was proven that the villa was owned by the state and the money in the account comprised donations transferred to her as the first lady and chair of charity organizations, he added.
“Detaining or releasing a suspect does not mean that he/she is innocent or guilty or that the case is closed. It is a procedural step that is determined by the investigator’s assessment of the situation,” El-Gohary said.
The decision to detain the former first lady stemmed from fear that she may not present evidence to investigators. However, she explained the origins of the property and the funds, and since they do not belong to her, she relinquished them to the state.
El-Gohary said it is standard procedure to release suspects unless they are captured while committing a crime, are a flight risk or may cause security turbulence, may negatively affect investigations or influence witnesses.
El-Gohary added that prominent journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal will be summoned for questioning regarding claims that he has documents to prove that Mubarak’s fortune is worth $9 to $11 billion.
Mubarak has not requested to relinquish his assets in return for amnesty, El-Gohary added.
Numbers circulated in the media about Mubarak’s wealth are false, and only Switzerland has recognized the accounts of Mubarak’s family without specifying their value, he said.
“We will file lawsuits against countries which refuse to cooperate with us in returning the money,” El-Gohary said.
The Illicit Gains Authority has challenged the Cassation Court’s decision to release Zakaria Azmy, ex-chief of the presidential staff, before the North Cairo Criminal Court and will file two new charges against him, he added.
Charges include an ownership of an apartment in Alexandria that he failed to admit, as well as an apartment in Heliopolis that he bought in the name of Gamal and Alaa Mubarak.
“The agency issues its decisions according to the law and not based on public pressure. My fairness as a judge has been undisputed throughout my career,” El-Gohary said.
He urged media to be accurate when reporting on investigations.