Egypt: Presidential loser Ahmed Shafik leaves as graft inquiry launched


The loser of the presidential election left Egypt with most of his family yesterday, hours after an investigation was opened into claims that he wasted public funds as a minister in the former regime.

Ahmed Shafik, Hosni Mubarak's last Prime Minister, flew to Abu Dhabi with two of his three daughters and three grandchildren. His spokesman said he had left for a short visit.

The United Arab Emirates has offered a haven to other members of Mubarak's old regime. Earlier this month, the most senior old regime figure not jailed or on trial, former spy chief and vice-president Omar Suleiman, left for Abu Dhabi.

Mr Shafik was narrowly defeated for the presidency by Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group whose members were banned, repressed, jailed and tortured under Mubarak's regime. On Monday the prosecutor general opened an investigation into corruption allegations and Egyptian media reports said Mr Shafik had been expected to be interrogated in the coming days. During his presidential campaign, Mr Shafik denied all corruption allegations.

Meanwhile a court has suspended a government decision allowing military and intelligence officers to arrest civilians. This had caused uproar among activists and politicians, who said it was akin to imposing martial law.

The decision could be reversed on appeal by the military government, however.