Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak spoke publicly on Sunday for the first time since being forced from power two months ago. In a five-minute audiotape aired on the Al-Arabiya satellite television network, Mubarak defended his legacy and said he would cooperate with prosecutors looking into allegations that he has hidden vast sums of embezzled money in foreign accounts. Here, a guide to the accusations:
What are the allegations against Mubarak?
The most attention-grabbing claim is that Mubarak stole large amounts of money from the Egyptian people. An Egyptian prosecutor reportedly told the U.S. that Mubarak may have stashed more than $700 billion in embezzled cash, gold, and other assets in accounts around the world. But take that huge sum with a grain of salt. It "far exceeds earlier estimates and might be wildly exaggerated," say James V. Grimaldi and Robert O'Harrow Jr. in The Washington Post.
Has he been charged with anything?
Not yet. The former president remains in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, under heavy guard. He and his family have had their assets frozen and are forbidden from leaving the country, but Mubarak has not been formally charged with any crimes. Egypt's public prosecutor announced on Sunday that he has summoned Mubarak and his sons for questioning as part of investigations into embezzlement allegations, and the deaths of protesters. But it's unclear when, if ever, Mubarak will actually face charges.
How have Egyptians reacted?
With renewed anger about the slow pace of justice. Thousands of protesters returned to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday to demand that Mubarak and other members of his government be prosecuted more quickly on corruption and other charges. "We want Mubarak and other corrupt officials put on trial and charged," said protester Mohamed Fawzi, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times. "Why does convicting a thug or a thief take a few days while indicting someone like Mubarak — we all witnessed his shameful acts — takes months and maybe years?"
And Mubarak's response?
In his taped remarks, the deposed 82-year-old insisted that he and his family have no foreign holdings. He called the accusations against him "fraudulent campaigns and unfounded allegations that seek to harm my reputation, my integrity and my military and political record." Mubarak also said that he authorized investigators to ask other countries for any proof regarding the accounts. But he threatened legal action, if necessary, to defend himself: "I will reserve my legal right to sue anybody who attacked me or tried to undermine my reputation."
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