CAIRO - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called the leaders of Gulf Arab states to reassure them of strong Egyptian-Gulf ties after a leaked audio recording that purports to show him and senior aides being derisive of their rich Gulf donors.
Mekameleen, a pro-Islamist TV channel that aired the tape at the weekend, ran subtitles to identify the detailed conversations heard as being between Sisi and two of his senior staff on how to get Gulf states to funnel them more money.
The last conversation suggested it had occurred before Sisi became president in 2014.
Reuters listened to the audiotape but its authenticity could not be confirmed, and it was not able to reach government officials for comment on Monday. The presidency has made no official comment on the alleged recording or its veracity.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have given Egypt over $12 billion in aid, deposits for the central bank and petroleum products since the army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.
Last week the Egyptian news website Al-Youm al-Sabea said the three countries would deposit $10 billion in the central bank before Cairo hosts a high-profile investment conference that it hopes will generate ventures worth billions of dollars.
In the alleged recordings, the man identified as Sisi tells another official: "We need 10 billion to be put in the army's account... and we want 10 like them from the Emirates, and from Kuwait another 10, in addition to a couple of pennies to be put in the central bank and that will complete the 2014 budget."
The man identified as Abbas Kamel, Sisi's office manager at the time of the recording, is heard laughing and then saying "and then he will faint," without identifying who he means.
"Man, they have money like rice," said the man who was identified as Sisi.