Mohamed Ali has gone from show to hide. Of becoming an actor, thanks in part to a made a fortune as a contractor in dubious real estate projects of the Army of his country, Egypt, to sojourn in the hotel in the province of Barcelona for which the intelligence services egyptians could not be reached. The point of inflection between a and another life was on the 2nd of September. That day, posted it on YouTube from Spain, the first of half a hundred of videos in which he denounced the practices of corruption, nepotism, and awards no-bid that met from within —and with which it is enriched— for 15 years. His colloquial language connected with many in a country weighed down by inequality and the omnipresence of the Army. The recordings became viral and were the largest protest in the streets against Abdelfatá al-Sisi, the general who ousted Mohamed Morsi in a coup in 2013, was proclaimed president after an election the following year and rules since then with an iron hand.

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With the media, Ali has travelled the reverse route. When it became a nightmare of the authorities (“yes, I’m building presidential palaces. And I will build more. But they are not in my name, but in that of Egypt”, he ended up reacting to the videos the own Al-Sisi, in an official act), many media tried to interview him in Spain. Impossible. A month after the last big rally and a crackdown of more than 4,000 arrests, Ali has changed strategy. Now it is he who invites the press and the COUNTRY, the first half in Spanish that you receive. “In the beginning”, explains the change, “I wanted to give my point of view to the people and that nothing more influence. Now I want to expose Al-Sisi to the European Union and throughout the West. I have seen that the western newspapers are interested in what is going on, so I want to bring to light everything that he does.”

Since September 27, the authorities sofocaron the “march of the million” to which Ali, calling from Spain, there are no protests or new videos. “The village has already seen that [Al-Sisi] is a thief”, justifies his silence. Ensures that stores secrets “to not look like a tv presenter talk so much” and that will broadcast within three weeks a video surprise “it is going to remove the world”. “All of the opposition out of Egypt have united around me. And we’re making a plan” what is it? “Are the technical steps to go to [Al-Sisi]. Not going to take more than two or three months,” why is it so optimistic? “Because the people no longer holds”. Why do you think that’s going to happen right now that there are no demonstrations? “You’ll see”.

The interview takes place at a point of the province of Barcelona asks not to spread. Are the offices of his construction company, Amlaak, registered last February in the Mercantile Registry of Barcelona —in a different direction to the current— with an initial capital of 1.25 million euros and in which everything —from the furniture to the sofa is brand new. There are No documents, or computers, or decoration. Until a few alcayatas hang out naked without a calendar because —for the entrepreneur— this has been imposed in the future.

Only highlights a model of the immense glass pyramid that it plans to raise about three chimneys of the thermal power plant in disuse of Sant Adrià de Besòs, near Barcelona, to connect with the past of his country, on the other shore of the Mediterranean. A project by the that then, last summer, gave their first interviews, in which he gave a picture of an entrepreneur visionary stranger to politics. The impact of the videos —make sure that it is here where he has recorded— he was forced to slam on the brakes. “I stopped to devote myself to the project because he slept in the hotel for fear that I would kill the style of the mafia. I am very sure that the Spanish Government will never I will deliver it to Egypt, but I know that you might pay a lot for my head. Now I live in a house, hidden, the address of which [the egyptian authorities] do not know, and I come to this office only when I have a meeting. I’m sure you don’t know this address. In addition, I’d be afraid to get me something in front of a western”. That’s why, he says, has not requested protection from the authorities in Spain, where it resides thanks to one of the so-called visa gold you get when you purchase a home of more than half a million euros. Ali prevents sites that can be recognized by other arabs, such as The Ramblas of Barcelona.

In person, is more restrained than in his videos —in which it praises and insults more to Al-Sisi—, but uses the same Arabic dialect riddled with expressions that revealed her humble origin. An asset, the language of the street, which operated throughout the conversation to counter the image of new rich dress shirts faces behind the wheel of a Ferrari (just bought one, he says, that belonged to Messi because he could not bring the that has in Egypt), which he disseminates in social networks. “I connect with people because I am one of them. I was not born rich. And I know his language. On the contrary, they are happy that it has started from scratch and now is a man of business.”

— But the people also know that money comes from the projects of corruption that now denounces…

— Have seen the Ferrari, the clothes, everything… But have sense what is inside of my heart. When a person is honest, the words come fast to the heart. It has nothing to do with the aspect

In fact, Ali knows how to transmit. Look at the eyes when talking, and is attractive. If you do not have a cigarette in hand (rarely happens), picotea or dried fruits, nuts illustrated on a sheet of paper with a ballpoint pen construction projects (a mansion for Al-Sisi when he was Defence minister, hotels, headquarters of the intelligence services…) in which he participated for the Authority for Engineering, the body that supervises the work of the Armed Forces. More than 2,300 projects in which they are employed, five million civilians, according to has indicated recently, one of their spokespersons.

Account that was involved in projects worth at least 4,000 million egyptian pounds (223 million euros), your gateway to the contracts was the son of a general, and that the bribes and the falsification of invoices were systematic. “The military that are in the project take a lot of money under the table. I can only work if you so elect that official. And it carries between a 1% and 1.5% of the project cost. You’re giving money under the table until you sign,” he says.

when asked if her videos are a vendetta by 12.5 million euros owed, loose a laugh. “I’ve worked with them for 15 years. I could have worked another 15 and would have a hundred times more money. The proof is that I was here for a year and no one put a complaint in against me until I started to talk.”

six years Ago began to plan to have some day what I knew. “I was inside the shed and listened. He knew where to give the shot,” he recalls with a smile. He was preparing the ground. It was established in 2018 in the barcelona coast, after ruling out Germany and Holland for the weather. I knew the area from filming in Sitges of The Other Land (“The earth”), a film to discourage clandestine emigration, which he produced and starred in. He waited until her children were due to complete the school year in Egypt and began to speak.

Mohamed Ali, next to a scale model of their project. J. S.

— why it took 15 years?

— I do not understand politics or knew what it meant corruption. I didn’t finish my studies and everything that I knew in my life is that I had to work. It was the first time that I was working for the Army. At first I thought that you could not give money under the table. Then, that was a rule. When the projects went up from level to level, gave money to the officers because they told me that was to buy material. After I understood that was what carried them. It was then when I began to understand the Army […] When you get to a site you do not know him well. In a year you don’t understand the same thing in 15.

In your country, when they began the complaints, the media ignored them. Then he mocked. They then brought the plates to his father and to his only brother for criticizing it. Just in case, a presenter made it clear that the State knows who comes out to manifest itself because the famous Tahrir square in Cairo “is full of cameras.” We have dedicated in addition to adjectives such as hardly compatible as a drug addict, a womanizer and a member of the Muslim brotherhood, an accusation that sounds fun during the interview, with cans of beer on the table.

—do you Have written proof of that complaint?

I need something stronger than the papers, the facilities. They [the Army] are the owners of the papers. I said where I was what I built and the people came to take photos. That can’t be debunked.

— And what about the contracts?

— I left in a smaller company that was active there. When I started making the videos, [the security forces] took the papers and searched the employees. The roles have no importance. I was the fourth most important company of those working with the Army. I, myself, am a role that can’t be disproved.

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