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In taped message, Mubarak denies corruption

Published: Sunday, April 10 2011 6:00 p.m. MDT

CAIRO — Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian autocrat forced from power by the throngs in Tahrir Square two months ago, spoke for the first time since then in an audiotape broadcast on Sunday, denying that he and his family had amassed wealth overseas and defending his honor and legacy.

The Al Arabiya satellite network, which obtained the five-minute tape, said it had been produced on Saturday after tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered again in Tahrir, Cairo's central square, demanding that the military council that replaced Mubarak speed up its investigation into his wealth.

That rally, the first of such magnitude in weeks, ended in the deaths of two demonstrators at the hands of the security forces. The square was emptier but tense Sunday with trash, barbed wire and the burned-out hulks of military vehicles. The military had so far not carried out its threat to clear out the demonstrators by force.

Mubarak, 82, and his wife and two sons have stayed at his weekend home in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, forbidden from leaving the country. The tone of his taped remarks was of a man still stunned that his nation had ever come to think ill of him.

The revolution has been slow to produce the results people expected, and the renewed demonstration on Friday and Saturday were aimed at speeding up the process. In particular, the crowd demanded accountability for the lavish life of Mubarak and his family as he led this impoverished country of 85 million.

It has been widely rumored but unproven that he has salted away millions — some say billions — of dollars overseas while more than a third of the Egyptian population survives on less than $2 a day.

It was that accusation that Mubarak, in his audiotape, sought most to counter. He said neither he nor his wife had a foreign bank account and no one in his family held foreign property.

Announcements by the public prosecutor on Sunday suggested that the urgency of the crowd's demands on this issue had gotten through. It said that Mubarak and his two sons had been summoned in a probe of embezzlement and that his comments aired on television would not affect the investigation.

The public prosecutor also said it would investigate complaints that Mubarak and his two sons would be investigated for alleged links to the violence during the 18-day protest in which several hundred had been killed.

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