Mubarak's wife freed after handing over £2.5m but may still face trial

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The Independent Online

Egypt's justice ministry yesterday ordered the wife of deposed president Hosni Mubarak to be released from custody without bail, after she relinquished disputed assets worth nearly £2.5 million.

Suzanne Mubarak, 70, has turned over property and money valued at about 24 million Egyptian pounds to the state. The move aimed to settle corruption allegations against her, but it was unclear whether she still faces trial.

In a statement, Essam el-Gouhari, head of a state body investigating illegal financial transactions by officials of the deposed regime, said the decision was taken to release Mrs Mubarak because of "lack of justification for detention after she turned over all the money she amassed illicitly". The former first lady, who is half Welsh, was hospitalised over the weekend after she fainted and complained of chest pains during interrogation.

Anti-corruption prosecutors have claimed Mrs Mubarak had millions in bank accounts in Egypt and owned a villa. It is not clear how much money the Mubaraks have abroad. Some estimates range in the tens of billions of dollars.

The former president has been held in custody since last month on charges that include misuse of power and ordering attacks against protesters in the 18-day uprising that drove him from power in February.

A report published yesterday by the El-Shorouk newspaper said Mr Mubarak planned to release an audio appeal for amnesty in return for handing over all his holdings. The report sparked a wave of criticism on social media sites, key elements in the revolution that overthrew Mr Mubarak.