Former Egyptian PM Ahmed Shafik acquitted of corruption charges

Two other Mubarak-era officials also exonerated

A picture shows Egypt’s High Court in downtown Cairo on January 1, 2015, during the hearing of three Al-Jazeera reporters on charges of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt's top court ordered a retrial of the three Al-Jazeera reporters whose imprisonment on charges of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood triggered global outrage, but kept them in custody pending a new hearing. Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed of the broadcaster's English service were detained in December 2013. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo by KHALED DESOUKI / AFP)
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An Egyptian criminal court has acquitted former prime minister and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik of two sets of corruption charges.

Also acquitted on Wednesday were Capt Tawfiq Assi, chairman of the holding company for EgyptAir, and former civil aviation minister Ibrahim Manaa.

Both were charged with colluding with Mr Shafik to misappropriate public funds.

A second charge, also dropped, related to his use of public funds set aside for the renovation of a park in Heliopolis, Cairo.

Mr Shafik, Capt Assi and Mr Manaa had previously been acquitted of these charges, only for the rulings to be overturned after an appeal by Egypt’s prosecutor general to the Court of Cassation.

Mr Shafik returned to Egypt from political exile in 2017.

After he arrived he was questioned about the charges. He was charged with trying to destabilise Egypt but released soon after.

In 2018, Mr Shafik said he intended to run against President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, but retracted his bid days after his announcement.

He said his distance from Egypt while he was in the UAE made him ill-equipped to be president.

Mr Shafik was a long-time companion of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, having served as a senior fighter pilot under him during the 1973 October War.

His military career culminated in Mr Shafik’s appointment as prime minister in January 2011.

He took the role during protests in Tahrir Square, which led to a regional period of tumult.

His stint as prime minister lasted a little over a month, ending when the interim Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took control of Egypt.

In 2012, Mr Shafik ran for president, narrowly losing to Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi. Mr Shafik left for the UAE soon after his election loss.

A few months after his departure, Morsi issued an arrest warrant against him due to his closeness to the Mubarak government, many members of which were sentenced to prison for corruption.