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Former Mubarak aide faces new corruption probe-MENA

Egypt's former chief of staff faces graft charges fsoon after he was released on $33,640 bail.

May 19, 2011 8:47 by

Egypt’s anti-graft agency opened a new corruption investigation against ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s former chief of staff on Wednesday, a day after a court ordered his release on bail, state media reported.

The state news agency MENA said investigators were questioning Zakaria Azmi following reports by watchdog groups about additional and previously undisclosed wealth believed to have been accumulated unlawfully.

Azmi, one of Mubarak’s closest aides, was ordered released on a 200,000 pounds ($33,640) bail on Tuesday after nearly six weeks in detention.

The decision came after Azmi’s lawyer filed an appeal for his client’s release. Under Egyptian law, suspects can be held for up to 45 days and then must be freed or brought to trial.

The country’s anti-graft agency said it had informed the prosecutor it would appeal the ruling at the criminal court.

MENA said Assem el-Gohari, the head of the illicit gains authority, was due to decide on Azmi’s fate after questioning, expected to last for several hours.

Azmi was detained for 15 days on April 7 as part of an investigation into allegations of illegal gains. He has been remanded twice since, each time for 15 days, court officials said. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The ruling military council on Wednesday dismissed speculation it would pardon Mubarak, who is under investigation for graft and abuse of power, and said it does not interfere in judicial affairs. Mubarak, 83, is detained in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after officials said he had heart problems. His wife, Suzanne, who also fell ill when ordered detained, was freed on Tuesday after giving up assets but faces a graft probe.

The timing of the illnesses of Mubarak and his wife meant neither joined other officials in jail and has fuelled talk they were getting special treatment by the army. (Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Maria Golovnina)

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