Bloomberg News

Ex-Egypt Bank Chief Accused of Groping Hotel Maid Pleads Guilty

June 25, 2011

June 25 (Bloomberg) -- The former chairman of Egypt’s Bank of Alexandria pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that he sexually abused a maid at a Manhattan hotel in exchange for a sentence of five days of community service at a soup kitchen.

Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar, charged with sexually assaulting an employee of the Pierre Hotel, pleaded guilty yesterday in New York state court to sexual abuse in the third degree, a class b misdemeanor. Earlier yesterday, the victim sued him for $5 million in Manhattan federal court.

The victim alleged Omar groped her in his room on May 29 after asking her to bring him tissues. Police originally charged Omar with sexual abuse in the first degree, sexual abuse in the third degree and forcible touching. He faced as long as seven years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

Omar, head of El-Mex Salines, was free on bail after having been confined at Rikers Island, New York City’s main jail complex. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief, was held there after being charged with the sexual assault and attempted rape of a maid at the Sofitel, another Manhattan hotel.

In Omar’s case, police were called to the Pierre after the maid told security that he groped her when she went to his room. Omar “wrapped his arms tightly around the informant’s body and while holding the informant, kissed the informant’s neck and lips,” Detective Efrain Curet said in a criminal complaint.

Omar grabbed the maid a second time and groped her, according to the complaint.

Arrested May 30

Omar was arrested May 30. The Pierre, where room rates start at $776 a night according to its website, is part of the Taj Group of Hotels. The hotel had said it is cooperating with police. It suspended a supervisor who stopped the maid from immediately filing a complaint, the New York Daily News reported.

Yesterday, the maid sued Omar for assault and battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

In the hearing in criminal court, Assistant District Attorney Nicole Blumberg told Judge Rita Mella that prosecutors agreed to the plea deal after carefully reviewing the evidence, including interviews with more than 20 witnesses, a person who witnessed the exchange said. Blumberg said the victim was told of the plea deal and is satisfied with it, the person said.

Omar has performed five days of community service at a soup kitchen, his attorney Lori Cohen said after the hearing. He pleaded guilty because he wants to get back to his wife who just had surgery, she said.

Strauss-Kahn was indicted on charges of first-degree criminal sex act, attempted rape and sexual abuse in the first degree. The most serious crimes he is charged with carry a prison term of as long as 25 years. He denies the charges.

--Editor: Fred Strasser, Peter Blumberg

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York State Supreme Court at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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