The loser of Egypt’s presidential election has left the country with most of his family hours after an investigation was opened into claims he wasted public funds during his term as a minister in the former regime.
Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, flew to Abu Dhabi with two of his three daughters and three grandchildren. His spokesman said he left for a short visit and he will return after a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
The United Arab Emirates has offered a haven to other members of Mubarak’s old regime. Earlier this month, the most senior old regime figure not jailed or on trial, former spy chief and vice president Omar Suleiman, left for Abu Dhabi.
Mubarak is serving a life sentence after being convicted of failing to stop the killing of hundreds of protesters in the 18-day uprising last year that forced him out of power. Other senior figures of the regime are also either in jail or on trial for a variety of alleged abuses of power during Mubarak’s three decades as president.
Mr Shafiq was narrowly defeated for the presidency by Islamist Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group whose members were banned, repressed, jailed and tortured under Mubarak’s regime. The results of the race were announced late on Sunday afternoon.
On Monday the prosecutor general opened an investigation into the corruption allegations and Egyptian media reports said he had been expected to be interrogated over the allegations in the coming days.
The daily Al Shorouk reported that there are at least 24 lawsuits filed against Mr Shafiq, and that a judge planned to summon him for questioning over 11 of them.
During his presidential campaign, Mr Shafiq denied all corruption allegations. After the country’s election commission announced the presidential results on Sunday, he posted a video clip on his campaign Facebook page recognising the election results, congratulating Mr Morsi, and urging him to treat the losing camp’s supporters fairly.
“We have confidence that there will be no settling of scores,” he said in the video. He also referred indirectly to the corruption allegations by saying: “I have faced painful tests and suffered from tarnishing campaigns.”