Last Updated: Tue May 17, 2011 13:44 pm (KSA) 10:44 am (GMT)

Suzanne Mubarak turns over $3 million to Egypt, claiming that’s all she possesses

Suzanne Mubarak holds a speech during the opening of the international center of 56th edition of the Frankfurt Book Fair. (File photo)a
Suzanne Mubarak holds a speech during the opening of the international center of 56th edition of the Frankfurt Book Fair. (File photo)a

Former First Lady Suzanne Thabet Mubarak told prosecutors on Monday that she would turn over all her assets to Egypt. She said that she possessed only $3 million.

Various estimates have her and her husband, former President Hosni Mubarak, in possession of several billion dollars. There was speculation Monday evening that the state would not prosecute Mrs. Mubarak in view of her offer. There was also speculation that some prosecutors did not believe her arithmetic, and that an investigation into her finances would continue.

Earlier, doctors failed to complete an angioplasty on Mrs. Mubarak, potentially prolonging a stay in hospital after anti-corruption authorities ordered her detention.

Al-Ahram newspaper cited medical officials as saying doctors at a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh had been due to undertake the angioplasty on Sunday evening after suffering a heart attack.

The report did not say why the catheter procedure had failed and did not give a date for any new attempt. Typically, an angioplasty procedure fails when arterial blockages are extremely severe.

Angioplasty involves inserting a catheter from the groin to the heart in order to drill open arterial blockages. After blockages have been open, a stent is usually put in place in order to prevent restenosis, or regrowth of the plaque.

An anti-corruption agency ordered on Friday that the former first lady be detained for 15 days to investigate charges she abused her husband’s influence for unlawful personal gain. The couple denies the charges.

She was admitted to the hospital on Friday after suffering symptoms of a heart attack.

It was unlikely Mrs. Mubarak would be transferred to a prison facility in the short term.

“Preparing the Tora (prison) hospital (in Cairo) to receive critical cases could take months,” said Nazih Gadallah, who heads the prison service and is an aide to Egyptian Interior Minister Mansour al-Essawy, in remarks broadcast by Al Arabiya.

President Mubarak, 83, who led Egypt for three decades before he was forced to step down on February 11 in a popular uprising, also suffered heart problems last month during questioning by lawyers investigating abuse of public funds and the killing of protesters.

He has not been transferred to prison, as demanded by state prosecutors.

Some media reports have suggested their family’s fortune may total billions of dollars, according to Reuters.

The conspicuous wealth of senior officials was a major popular grievance in a country where around 40 percent of its 85 million population lives on less than $2 per day.

Mr. Mubarak was interrogated about his ownership of a Sharm al-Sheikh villa estimated to be worth more than 36 million Egyptian pounds ($6.1 million) and about alleged personal use of a bank account owned by the Library of Alexandria, according to state media.

Mrs. Mubarak was questioned about a Cairo villa and 20 million pounds in an unspecified bank account, it added.

The former president was first detained on April 13 and his detention has been repeatedly extended.

Mr. Mubarak’s two sons, Mr. Alaa and Mr. Gamal, along with dozens of officials and businessmen associated with the former regime, are being detained in Cairo’s notorious Tora Prison that housed political dissidents during the Mubarak era. The former president will be reportedly incarcerated there once he’s fit to travel to Cairo.

The former first lady was liked among Egyptians and gained their sympathy on at least two occasions: she was recovering from an illness that left her looking frail and out of the public eye and when her grandson died in 2009, but it is only in the last decade when she surfaced as a conspicuous and a powerful mover in Egyptian politics.

Educated with a master’s degree from the American University in Cairo, Mrs. Mubarak was believed to be a strong backer of the efforts of her son Mr. Gamal to succeed his father. She also strongly supported the business activities of her older son Mr. Alaa.

It was only in Hosni Mubarak’s later years in power that stories of her formidable influence in behind-the-scenes decision-making surfaced.

(Abeer Tayel, an editor at Al Arabiya English, can be reached at: abeer.tayel@mbc.net)

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