- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2011

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — Egyptian authorities on Friday ordered the detention of Suzanne Mubarak, wife of deposed President Hosni Mubarak, and a doctor said she passed out on hearing the news.

The detention order was reported by the government-run MENA news agency. It was issued a day after the government said Hosni Mubarak and his wife were questioned over suspicions they illegally amassed vast wealth.

MENA said prosecutors ordered Mrs. Mubarak, who is 70, detained for 15 days pending further investigation of the allegations.

Mrs. Mubarak was interrogated at the hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh where her 83-year old husband has been held. At the end of the questioning session, which lasted nearly three hours, Mrs. Mubarak fainted, said the hospital’s director, Dr. Mohammed Fatahallah.

Doctors were treating her, Fatahallah said, adding that she had appeared to be in fine health while attending her husband.

A security official here said Mrs. Mubarak will remain in the hospital for the time being. MENA said security authorities had not been ordered yet to move her to prison. The security officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The former president had been questioned several times, but Thursday was the first time Mrs. Mubarak faced interrogation.

MENA said Mrs. Mubarak was asked about 20 million Egyptian pounds ($3.3 million) held in her name in one of the Cairo banks as well as a luxurious home in Cairo.

The Mubaraks have been staying in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh since he was deposed Feb. 11 by a popular uprising. She has been going back and forth between the hospital and their villa, which has an estimated value of 36 million pounds ($6 million).

In the early year’s of Mubarak’s presidency, Mrs. Mubarak had stayed in the shadows, but later had a very public face with her charitable work and was believed to be a strong backer of her sons’ political and business aspirations.

A report by a financial oversight body said that the Mubarak family has numerous bank accounts in foreign and local currencies, luxury apartments and villas, and valuable land holdings. Some estimate his fortune in the tens of billions of dollars.

Mubarak denies the allegations.

Mubarak also faces charges over deaths of protesters during the uprising.

The frail health of the ousted president has been a subject of concern for the authorities, who ordered that he be detained but later said his health requires that he remain in the hospital. Mubarak has a history of health problems and underwent gallbladder surgery in Germany last year.

Last month, the country’s police chief recommended that Mubarak not be moved from the hospital until his health stabilized.

A government medical team ruled out transferring Mubarak to the hospital of Cairo’s Tora prison, one of the country’s high security prisons, where stalwarts of his regime — including his sons Alaa and Gamal, the prime minister and the heads of parliament’s two chambers — are held on allegations of corruption, mismanagement of state funds and firing on protesters.

Associated Press Ashraf Sweilam in El-Arish, North Sinai, contributed to this report.

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