Mubarak denies abuse of authority
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has denied that he abused his authority to amass wealth and property in his first speech since his ousting.
Broadcast on the pan-Arab news channel Al-Arabiya, Mubarak said he is willing to co-operate in any investigation to prove that he did not own any property abroad or have foreign bank accounts.
Shortly after Mubarak's pre-recorded speech was aired, Egypt's prosecutor general told state TV he issued order summoning the ex-president and his two sons for questioning. The station quoted a prosecution spokesman as saying the scope of the investigation of Mubarak and his sons would include the crackdown on protesters that killed an estimated 300 people as well as the corruption allegations.
The news channel said the speech was recorded on Saturday after demonstrators gathered in Cairo to demand the country's ruling military council launch an investigation into Mubarak's wealth. That has been a key demand of Egyptians, who forced Mubarak to leave office on February 11 after 18 days of mass demonstrations.
The speech seemed to be as much about preserving his dignity as about denying the accusations against him. "I was hurt very much, and I am still hurting - my family and I - from the unjust campaigns against us and false allegations that aim to smear my reputation, my integrity, my (political) stances and my military history," Mubarak said.
Egyptians fed up with poverty, corruption and political repression forced Mubarak to leave office on February 11 after 18 days of mass demonstrations.
Friday's protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square by tens of thousands was the biggest since then. Despite constitutional amendments to allow free elections and other steps toward a freer political scene, many of people in the anti-Mubarak movement are growing impatient with the ruling military's transitional leadership and sceptical of its pledges to meet all demands.
Trust between the military and the reform movement suffered a serious setback after Friday's demonstrations when soldiers stormed their protest camp in the middle of the night, killing at least one person and injuring 71 others.
That increased calls for the resignation of the head of the military council running the country, Defence Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, a Mubarak appointee. It also spurred protesters to retake Tahrir Square, shutting down traffic in the heart of the city. On Sunday, hundreds remained barricaded there behind barbed wire and burned-out troop carriers.
Since being ousted, Mubarak and his family have been under house arrest at a presidential palace in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, their assets frozen. But Mubarak has not been charged.