Salem escaped from Egypt following the eruption of a popular uprising in 2011 that ousted long time autocrat Hosni Mubarak. He currently resides in Spain, where he holds citizenship. The Mubarak era mogul was acquitted in a graft case along with Mubarak and others, and charges against him were dropped in the most prominent of the cases that involved exporting gas to Israel at a loss to Egypt.
Salem was accused of collaborating with Mubarak and a former petroleum minister to illegally acquire the rights to export Egyptian natural gas to Israel at below market rates. He currently faces two retrials on charges of illegally acquiring land, squandering public funds and illegally selling electricity, in addition to a pending investigation on illicit gains.
A conciliatory deal between Salem and Egypt’s successive governments never materialised despite continuous offers. In the spring of 2012, Salem offered to the Muslim Brotherhood government to give up half his fortune in exchange for dropping all charges against him, in a deal that was never reached. Another offer was made in January 2014 to the interim government, prior to the election of Egypt’s current president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.