Mubarak Trial Resumes

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A protestor outside the police academy where Egypt's former president, Hosni Mubarak, is on trial. / REUTERS

With tensions brewing between citizen activists and the country’s ruling military council, Egypt resumed the trial of Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president,  and his sons and associates at a police academy Wednesday.

Mubarak, who has amassed some $450 million in Swiss bank accounts according to Egyptian prosecutors, is on trial for corruption and for the deaths of more than 800 protestors over 18 days last winter. A helicopter whisked the former president from the military hospital where he is being held to the police academy where he is being tried. The former strongman appeared in court lying on a gurney.

Supporters of the disgraced president gathered outside, proclaiming his innocence, while critics called for his death and those of his associates. Also on trial are Mubarak’s two sons, the interior minister, senior police officers and Egypt’s wealthiest business executive, Hussein Salem, who is being tried in absentia.

Salem is being held in a Spanish jail, fighting an extradition request from Egypt.

The trial, which could last months, is expected to resume Monday.

Sweep to Mubarak’s trial resumes in Egypt

Live by the sword . . . or is it video, these days?

In Brindisi, Italy, two police officers were arrested in a bribery scheme that relied on traffic cameras to catch speeding motorists. On their watch, a speed camera clocked a BMW X6 going 99 mph (or 160 km/h) in a 68 mph (110 km/h) zone.

The officers gave the driver a choice: a fine that could cost him $650 to $2,615, along with points on his license, or a bribe of $327 in cash.

There was only one hitch: the driver didn’t have the money on him.

So one of the officers obligingly drove the driver to a cash machine, where he withdrew the money and paid the bribe.

The motorist subsequently exposed the shakedown, his account corroborated by . . . surveillance cameras.

The arrests are only the latest in a wave of irregularities involving speed cameras in Italy.

Sweep to Italy: More officials arrested for photo enforcement

Inaki Urdangarin, son-in-law of Spain's King Juan Carlos, faces corruption charges. / REUTERS

The King of Spain’s son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, will face trial along with 14 other defendants on corruption charges.

Urdangarin, who carries the title Duke of Palma, is vowing to defend his “honor and innocence.” The royal family, which seems perenially mortified by Urdagarin’s missteps, has relieved the duke of official functions ahead of his court appearance in early February, and promised not to intervene if he is found guilty.

The former handball player is accused of stealing money through a not-for-profit he formerly ran, the Noos Institute, that won millions of dollars in contracts to promote sports and tourism in the Balearic Islands and in Valencia.

Prosecutors say the institute charged “totally disproportionate prices” for its work, and in turn paid outrageous prices to private companies controlled by Urdagarin and his associates, allowing them to pocket the cash. The investigation focused in particular on a $3.2 million payment to the institute for organizing a sports conference in 2005 and 2006.

The indictment is the latest in a wave of corruption cases against regional governments throughout Spain. As if to deflect popular outrage, the royal family publicly disclosed its income Wednesday, for the first time in the crown’s history.

Sweep to Spanish king’s son-in-law to face corruption case

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo is co-founding executive editor of 100Reporters and an award-winning former foreign, national and cultural correspondent for The New York Times and the Baltimore Sun.
Diana Jean Schemo

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