Sons of Ex-Egypt Leader Mubarak Arrested in Graft Probe

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Alaa and Gamal Mubarak during a trial in 2016 related to stock-market manipulation. 

Alaa and Gamal Mubarak during a trial in 2016 related to stock-market manipulation. 


Photo:

Stringer/Zuma Press

Egyptian authorities on Saturday detained and imprisoned two sons of Egypt’s deposed President Hosni Mubarak in connection with longstanding charges of insider trading.

The arrest of Gamal and Alaa Mubarak was a reminder of what many Egyptians regard as an era of corruption and political repression in the final years of Mr. Mubarak’s regime before he was ousted in a popular uprising in 2011.

The case against the two men began in 2012 with prosecutors alleging that they broke financial trading rules in a deal involving shares of Egypt’s Al Watany Bank. They have denied the charges against them.

It wasn’t clear on Saturday why the Cairo criminal court ordered the Mubarak sons arrested now.

The men were convicted in May 2015 in a separate case of embezzling millions of dollars of government funds. But a court freed them months later after a judge credited them for the 43 months in jail they had already served while awaiting criminal trials in other matters.

The Mubarak sons are symbols of the excesses of their father’s rule over Egypt, known for their lavish lifestyles and extravagant spending during Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade reign before he was ousted in the 2011 Arab Spring revolt. During the uprising, millions of Egyptians expressed outrage at corruption and human rights abuses by the government’s vast security apparatus.

Gamal Mubarak, an investment banker and senior official in his father’s ruling party, was widely seen as being groomed for the presidency, a prospect that rankled ordinary Egyptians and stoked opposition to the government in the years prior to the uprising.

Under Egypt’s current president, former military chief Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, the government has brought former members of the Mubarak regime back into political life. Former members of the Mubarak-dominated National Democratic Party now serve in the current parliament, a rubber stamp body that backs Mr. Sisi.

In recent years, Gamal Mubarak has become bolder about appearing in public attending weddings and sporting events in an apparent attempt to rehabilitate his public image. He hasn’t expressed fresh political ambitions.

Former President Mubarak was released from a military hospital last year. In the years that followed his ouster, he was convicted of involvement in the security forces killing of demonstrators during the 2011 protests, in which more than 800 people died in 18 days of street fighting. Mr. Mubarak was later acquitted in a retrial and released.

Another former president Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist leader who was elected in 2012, remains in prison. Mr. Morsi was ousted in a coup led by Mr. Sisi in 2013 and was jailed on a range of charges including espionage, insulting the judiciary, and orchestrating a prison break during the 2011 revolt.