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Mubarak denies profiting from his regime

CAIRO -- In the first remarks since his ouster, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak denied allegations that he used his position to amass wealth and property in a speech broadcast yesterday, as hundreds of protesters occupying the heart of Cairo shouted for him to be brought to trial.

Mubarak, forced out of office two months ago by a popular uprising, said he was willing to cooperate in any investigation to prove that he did not own property or bank accounts abroad.

Shortly after Mubarak's recorded speech was aired, Egypt's prosecutor general told state TV he issued orders yesterday summoning the ex-president and his two sons for questioning.

The station quoted a prosecution spokesman as saying the scope of the investigation would include the crackdown on protesters that killed about 300 people as well as the corruption allegations.

Holding Mubarak and top officials in his government accountable for the violence is a central demand of the anti-Mubarak movement.

The pan-Arab news channel Al-Arabiya, which broadcast the speech, said it was recorded Saturday. There was no video image accompanying the Mubarak recording.

The speech seemed to be as much about preserving his dignity as about denying the accusations against him.

"I was hurt very much, and I am still hurting -- my family and I -- from the unjust campaigns against us and false allegations that aim to smear my reputation, my integrity, my [political] stances and my military history," Mubarak said.

Egyptians fed up with poverty, corruption and political repression forced Mubarak to leave office on Feb. 11 after 18 days of mass demonstrations.

Friday's protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square by tens of thousands was the biggest since then.

Despite constitutional amendments to allow free elections and other steps toward a freer political scene, many in the anti-Mubarak movement are growing impatient with the ruling military's transitional leadership and skeptical of its pledges to meet all demands.

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