Family of Egyptair Co-Pilot Dismisses Sexual Allegations
The nephew of an EgyptAir co-pilot, accused of deliberately crashing a Boeing 767 into the Atlantic last October, dismissed Friday fresh allegations of sexual impropriety against his uncle.
"They've run out of logical reasons (to pin the crash on my uncle)," Walid al-Battuti told AFP in Cairo. "And now they want to get us involved in responding to this kind of allegation."
FBI reports due to be released later Friday by investigators into the crash allege that Gamil al-Battuti made a series of sexually suggestive acts in public, some of them in the days before the crash, USA Today reported Friday.
But the paper said investigators were unable to determine whether behavior such as allegedly exposing himself from a hotel window was connected with the October 31st crash.
"The name of my uncle is Gamil al-Battuti, it is not Bill Clinton," Walid said, in apparent reference to Clinton's admitted extra-marital sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The information, gathered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of a background investigation of the plane's crew members, will be included in the public files of the crash that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will release Friday, USA Today reported.
The allegations of sexual impropriety came from interviews with employees at the Hotel Pennsylvania, where EgyptAir flight crews stayed during stopovers in New York.
Co-pilot Gamil al-Battuti's character has been at the center of the debate over the crash, after suggestions by US investigators, angrily denied by Egypt, that he deliberately downed the plane in an act of suicide.
Egyptian officials have dismissed the suicide theory as a smokescreen to hide a possible mechanical failure in the Boeing 767.
On unveiling its public files, the NTSB will not announce a cause for the crash. However, they will include a complete transcript from the cockpit after the plane took off from New York until it crashed killing all 217 people on board, USA Today said -- CAIRO (AFP)
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