Egyptian Steel tycoon and a Mubarak crony jailed

Egyptian Steel tycoon and a leading power broker Ahmed Ezz has been handed down a 10-year prison sentence and fined about USD 11 million by a criminal court.

Cairo: Egyptian Steel tycoon and a leading
power broker Ahmed Ezz has been handed down a 10-year prison
sentence and fined about USD 11 million by a criminal court
here, in the first conviction of a crony of former President
Hosni Mubarak.

A close aide of Mubarak`s son Gamal, Ezz was convicted on
corruption charges in a trial running parallel to that of
fallen Egyptian head of state, Al Jazeera reported.

Among the wealthiest figures in Egypt at the apex of
Mubarak`s regime, Ezz was famous for his brash and domineering
style, Italian tailored suits, multiple wives, the way he
crooked his index finger in a gesture of command and his
conviction was one of the most vociferous demands of the
revolution.

The tycoon received his sentence yesterday, dressed in
prison whites and standing in a defendant`s cage in the
courtroom. His company`s stock dropped in value by nearly 9
per cent on the news.

The court also sentenced two more Mubarak-era figures,
former minister of commerce Rashid Mohammed Rashid and deposed
chairman of the country`s Industrial Development Authority Amr
Assal.

Rashid, once a face for reform and clean government, was
sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison and a USD 230
million fine for illegally helping Ezz obtain permits for his
steel empire.

It was the third sentence in absentia issued against
Rashid, for a total of 35 years in prison. He left the country
before Mubarak`s fall but has said he did nothing wrong. He is
believed to be sheltering in Qatar, the pan-Arab news channel
said.

Amr Assal was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a USD
11 million fine for conspiring with Ezz.

The sentences handed to steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz struck at
the core of businessmen and officials who made fortunes under
Mubarak`s rule.

The penalties indicate what may await Gamal Mubarak and
his brother, Alaa, both of whom are charged with graft and
corruption.

In the early days of last winter`s revolution, protesters
turned their anger on Ezz, looting and burning one of his
properties in Cairo.

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the leader of the
governing military council and Mubarak`s former defence
minister, is expected to testify at a closed session of the
trial on September 24, when he will be asked to shed light on
Mubarak`s role in the crackdown on protesters that left more
than 800 dead in the final days of his rule.

PTI

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