- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NEW YORK — A businessman and former chairman of a major Egyptian bank faces charges of sexually abusing a maid at a luxury Manhattan hotel, just weeks after the arrest of a former International Monetary Fund chief on similar allegations.

Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar was arrested on Monday and is accused of sexually abusing the maid at The Pierre, a luxurious hotel near Central Park and Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side, police said.

The maid was called to Omar’s room Sunday night to drop off tissues, police said. But once inside the 74-year-old’s room, police said Omar would not let her leave and touched her inappropriately. The encounter was not reported until Monday, police said.

Paul Browne, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department, said detectives found the complainant to be credible.

There was no immediate information on whether Omar had an attorney. He was held Monday night at a police precinct and transferred Tuesday morning to a booking facility near a Manhattan courthouse.

Police said further details will be released at Omar’s arraignment, expected to take place Tuesday.

Omar is currently the board chairman of the El-Mex Salines Co., a state-run salt production company, according to the company’s website. It is the largest salt producer in Egypt and the Middle East, the website said.

Company officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Omar is the former chairman of Egypt’s Bank of Alexandria. He also served as board chairman of the Egyptian American Bank and chairman of the Federation of Egyptian Banks, according to his biography on the company’s website.

The Pierre said it will “fully comply with the investigation,” according to a statement read over the phone by a hotel manager. “The Pierre’s priority is the safety of our guests and staff,” the statement also said.

The Pierre is owned by Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces of India.

The hotel attack comes about two weeks after Dominique Strauss-Kahn quit as the leader of the IMF, on May 18, after he was charged with sexually assaulting a maid at a different city hotel, Sofitel, near Times Square. He has denied the allegations, but is under house arrest as he awaits trial.

AP business writer Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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