Last updated at 2:36 PM on 1st June 2011
Accused: Egyptian businessman Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar waits to be arraigned at Manhattan criminal court
The Egyptian banker accused of locking a maid in his $900-a-night Manhattan hotel suite and sexually assaulting her has denied the charges.
Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar appeared in court just before midnight on Tuesday charged with sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment, forcible touching and harassment.
His lawyer Liz Beal told the court that her client 'adamantly denies the charges against him.'
She said: 'He realizes these are very, very serious charges, and he denies them. He wants to fight this case,'
Ms Beal, a Legal Aid attorney who said she was only representing Omar at his first court appearance and that he would seek private counsel.
Prosecutors called Omar an obvious flight risk. Judge Gerald Lebovits ordered Omar to surrender his travel documents, including his passport.
Authorities say a maid was called to Omar's room at the plush Pierre hotel in the upmarket Upper East Side of Manhattan on Sunday night to drop off tissues.
The former head of the Bank of Alexandria is said to have asked the 44-year-old maid to put the tissues on the table as he locked the door to the 10th-floor suite.
He then groped her breasts and ground his body against hers, according to reports.
Egyptian Businessman Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar is arrested in connection with an alleged sexual assault
'When she came to his room, he got carried away. He started grabbing at her. He wouldn't let her go,' a hotel bellman said.
The maid told him 'I'm not up here for that' but Omar persisted.
Dressed only in his pyjamas, he asked the maid for her number to which she replied with a fake one, before letting her go.
The incident is alleged to have happened just two weeks after IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was held over similar allegations.
Omar chairs the board of the El-Mex Salines Co., a state-run salt production company.
His biography on the company's site says he's a former chairman of Egypt's Bank of Alexandria, of the Egyptian American Bank and of the Federation of Egyptian Banks.
El-Mex Salines officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Omar's arrest came little more than two weeks after then-International
Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged with sexually assaulting a maid at a different Manhattan hotel.
Luxury: The incident is said to have taken place in Manhattan's plush Pierre Hotel
Strauss-Kahn, who has since resigned his IMF post, denies the allegations. He is currently under house arrest as he awaits trial.
The Pierre, owned by Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces of India, said it would 'fully comply with the investigation' in Omar's case, 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 added.
The alleged encounter between Omar and the housekeeper was reported Monday, police said.
Police spokesman Paul Browne said detectives found the maid's complaint credible.
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