A prominent Egyptian businessman was arrested Monday on charges that he sexually abused a maid at a five-star Manhattan hotel over the weekend.
Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar, the 74-year-old former chairman of Egypt’s Bank of Alexandria, remained in police custody overnight on charges of sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment, forcible touching and harassment, according to the Associated Press. His arraignment was expected later Tuesday.
The accusations against Omar, currently an executive at Egyptian salt producer El-Mex Salines Co., recall those levied against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn earlier this month. Strauss-Kahn is currently under house arrest and faces a number of charges including sexual assault and attempted rape.
According to reports, the maid was called to Omar’s room Sunday night to drop off a box of tissues. Here’s how unnamed sources described the events to ABC News:
When the maid arrived, he asked her to leave the tissues on a table inside his room. Once she was in the room, he allegedly closed the door and locked it.
Then, he allegedly grabbed her, kissed her, and fondled her breasts and buttocks. She fought him off and, according to sources, she told him she wasn't there for that. He then grabbed her again. This time, sources say, he rubbed up against her and she again resisted him. He then asked for her phone number. She gave him a false number, and he let her out of the room.
The alleged crimes occurred on Sunday night at The Pierre, a luxurious hotel near Central Park, but were not reported to the police until Monday. According to the ABC News and the New York Post the reason for the delay was that hotel staff initially told the maid that she had to first report the incident to her direct supervisor, who was not working Sunday. The police were then called Monday morning.
"Experienced NYPD detectives found the complainant to be credible," police spokesman Paul Browne told reporters.
UPDATED at 3:07 p.m.: The hotel has suspended the the manager who told the maid to wait a day to talk to her direct supervisor before filing a police report, the New York Daily News reports.