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Ex-Egypt Banker Should Pay $350,000 in Assault Suit, Judge Says

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May 22 (Bloomberg) -- The former chairman of Egypt’s Bank of Alexandria, Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that he sexually abused a New York hotel maid, should pay the woman $350,000 in her lawsuit against him, a federal magistrate judge recommended.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Dolinger said in a May 18 court filing that Omar is liable for an unprovoked sexual assault that caused “serious psychological harm” and “long-term psychic injuries” and should pay $250,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages to Doris Offei.

Offei, a native of Ghana and Brooklyn resident, sued Omar last year in Manhattan federal court, alleging he groped her in his room at the Pierre Hotel on May 29. She sought $5 million in the lawsuit. A default judgment was entered for Offei July 27 after Omar failed to respond to the complaint.

Omar’s conduct “was directed at someone whom he undoubtedly perceived as vulnerable and hence perhaps compliant to his wishes or at least fearful of complaining,” Dolinger said. Omar and Offei have 14 days to object to his report and recommendation.

Lori Cohen, an attorney for Omar, didn’t return a voice-mail message seeking comment on Dolinger’s filing after regular business hours yesterday.

Omar was charged with sexual assault and pleaded guilty in New York State court to sexual abuse in the third degree, a class b misdemeanor. He performed a sentence of five days of community service at a soup kitchen, Cohen said in June.

The case is Offei v. Omar, 11-4283, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net.

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