Egypt court acquits ex-PM, Mubarak sons of corruption

CAIRO - An Egyptian court has acquitted Ahmed Shafiq, a former prime minister and presidential candidate, and two sons of ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak, of corruption charges.

Shafiq fled to the United Arab Emirates shortly after he narrowly lost to the Islamist Mohamed Morsi in a 2012 presidential election, a year before Morsi's overthrow by the military.

He faces another corruption trial, as do Mubarak's sons Alaa and Gamal, and has not publicly said whether he would return and run in elections this year if acquitted of all charges.

The verdict in Shafiq's last remaining case is expected later on Thursday, his lawyer Farid al-Deeb told AFP.

An acquittal should allow him to return to Egypt.

Shafiq had been charged with a corrupt land sale to Mubarak's sons undertaken when he was a senior aviation official in Mubarak's government.

Shafiq later became the aviation minister and then prime minister in Mubarak's last days in office.

The military-installed government plans parliamentary and presidential elections by autumn 2014, amid widespread speculation that military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will compete and win.

Sisi has not confirmed his candidacy, but if he runs former military officers such as Shafiq are expected to step aside.

Mubarak's sons still face separate corruption trials, including one with their father, who is also accused of involvement in the killings of protesters during the uprising that forced him out.