Former Egyptian Prime Minister and presidential contender Ahmed Shafiq dismissed accusations he has fled corruption charges  and implied allegations against him were politically motivated, in a Saturday interview on Al Arabiya television.Last week it was announced that Shafiq is on an airports watchlist, facing possible arrest for corruption if he returned to Egypt. But Shafiq, who is now living in Dubai, flatly rejected graft accusations, which he said “belittled” Egypt’s status in the world, given that he could have been the president in “any second.” Implying the allegations were politically motivated, he said: “The tirade of accusations to a presidential candidate after he loses an election is due to the power of one party going after the suspect.”
“I believe I can explain my silence. I am waiting for some paper work and my own investigation [of the evidence]. I can acquit myself...even if takes some long time,” he said.The former premier narrowly lost this year’s tightly contested Egypt presidential election when Mohammed Mursi edged him 51.73 percent to 48.27 percent of the votes. Soon after the poll, Shafiq left the country amid rumors he was fleeing possible imprisonment for corruption.“Advanced countries do not treat presidential candidates this way. After all to qualify to be a presidential candidate, one needs to pass tests,” Shafiq told Al Arabiya.The former air force chief, appointed prime minister by Hosni Mubarak before the president was overthrown early last year, denied reports he would face charges for an allegedly illegal sale of state land to Mubarak’s sons.“This is not acceptable that a man who has my position has to defend himself...this is totally rejected,” he added. “There are no charges and this won’t even happen.”Asked if he made his speedy exit from Egypt after receiving information about the case against him, he answered that that had always wanted to perform Omrah pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia , but had been unable to due to elections.“I was surprised to hear this tirade of accusations; maybe it is coming from people who do not have a high-awareness level,” he said.During his interview, the Al Arabiya host asked him to respond to a clip by Isam Sultan, vice president of Al-Wasat moderate Islamist party, saying: “If Shafiq was a man, he would have returned back to Egypt, but he knows that he is embroiled, involved in these cases, and like other Mubarak men, he is escaping.”In response, Shafiq said: “Why should I care for the charges... I know for sure if I did anything wrong.”When Shafiq traveled to the United Arab Emirates after losing the presidential race to Mursi in June, his spokesman said at the time that he would come back to Egypt and form a political party. Shafiq told Al Arabiya Saturday he would return when the situation was “suitable” for him.
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