Omar Free on Bail, May Not be Indicted on Sex Assault Charge
Egyptian financier is accused of groping a maid at the Pierre hotel
Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar, the 74-year-old former chairman of Egypt's Bank of Alexandria, has been in police custody, mostly at Rikers Island jail, since his arrest Sunday on sexual assault charges. At 2:30 a.m. today, he posted $25,000 cash bail and at 9 a.m. finally gained his freedom. The former financier was back in court around 11 a.m. for a further hearing on his case, at which point it became apparent that he may not end up going before the grand jury. His lawyer, Lori Cohen, told the New York Daily News that "her client was ready to testify before the grand jury 'if it comes to that,' suggesting that perhaps Omar won't be indicted."
Prosecutors say Omar called a maid to his room at Manhattan's Pierre hotel on Sunday, asking for a box of Kleenex. When she arrived, he "squeezed her breast over her clothing" and "ground his groin against her leg," assistant district attorney Nicole Bloomberg told DNAinfo. At his arraignment on Tuesday, he was required to hand over his travel documents to the court to prevent him leaving the country. According to the Daily News, he's not required to stay in Manhattan, like Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Omar is due back in court on August 23.
Omar's arrest was especially notable because it came just two weeks after then International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss Kahn was arrested for allegedly trying to rape a maid at another high-end Manhattan hotel. Strauss-Kahn faces seven criminal counts, which carry a maximum sentence of 25 years if he is convicted. He is currently on house arrest in TriBeCa, and is due in court for an arraignment on Monday.