CAIRO (Reuters) - The wife of Egypt’s ousted president was released from detention on Tuesday after giving up assets but is still being investigated, said an official leading a probe into whether she amassed wealth illegally.
Suzanne Mubarak, who denies charges that she abused her husband’s influence for unlawful personal gain, was admitted to hospital on Friday after suffering symptoms of a heart attack. She has been detained in the same hospital as her husband.
Former President Hosni Mubarak, 83, is also being investigated for abuse of power, embezzlement and responsibility for the deaths of some protesters during the 18 days of unrest that led to his overthrow on February 11. He is still in detention.
“Suzanne Mubarak was released pending investigations after she gave up her assets of 24 million Egyptian pounds ($4 million) to the state,” Assem el-Gohari, the head of the illicit gains authority, told state radio.
A state television channel said Mubarak would apologize to Egyptians and would also return assets to the nation. This could not immediately be confirmed.
The report adds to speculation among Egyptians about the fate of the couple, who were both reported to have suffered heart problems at the moment they would have had to be transferred to jail for questioning.
Instead, both were held under guard in hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Red Sea resort where they had been living in a villa after Mubarak was pushed from office.
“Both Mr and Mrs Mubarak had heart problems as soon as they were ordered to be detained, well fool me once but don’t fool me twice,” said Mohamed Yassin, 26, a financial adviser.
The former president was hospitalized on occasion in power, most recently for gallbladder surgery in March 2010.
A judicial source had said earlier that Suzanne Mubarak would be released after posting bail, though the graft body said there was not bail.
Some Egyptians said they were frustrated that the president’s wife had been freed from detention, even if the probe was still going on.
“She should be detained. I know Egyptians have kind hearts ... but the state and the people have rights and it is an insult to the state if someone steals its money and gets released,” said Mansour khalil, a fabrics factory owner in his 50s.
But others said that, given her age and previous position, it was time to let her go.
“At the age of Suzanne Mubarak, it is humiliating for her to be put in jail, and now after she agreed to give back her money and assets then I think it is okay if she gets released,” said Younis Abdellah, a general manager at a state firm.
Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Angus MacSwan