Ahmed Shafik, who unsuccessfully challenged Mohamed Mursi for Egypt’s presidency, traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform a religious rite, his campaign adviser said, in a move that came shortly after corruption allegations were referred to an investigating judge.
Shafik, who served as Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, had been cast by the Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood as a candidate aiming at reviving the former president’s government. He lost to the Brotherhood’s candidate after a race that polarized Egyptians.
The career air force officer and former civil aviation minister under Mubarak was among several officials, including the ousted president, named in lawsuits alleging land usurpation that benefited an air force pilots’ association, according to a faxed statement from the prosecutor-general’s office. Youssef Wali, a former agriculture minister, was also named in the claims referred to the judge, the prosecutor said.
Shafik flew to Abu Dhabi early today with several family members, his campaign spokesman, Ahmed Sarhan, said by phone. He was then heading to Saudi Arabia to perform the Lesser Pilgrimage before returning to Egypt to start a new political party, Sarhan said, adding that he flew out on Etihad Airways.
Mursi, who is working to form a government before the scheduled handover of power by the ruling military council, has said he wants to bring to justice those who committed crimes under Mubarak’s government. While his call resonated among the youth groups that participated in last year’s uprising, Mursi has also said Egypt needs unity and that he isn’t looking to settle old scores.
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