Egypt’s highest appeals court on Thursday overturned the death sentence against real-estate billionaire Hisham Talaat Moustafa for the murder of a Lebanese pop singer, and ordered a retrial.
Moustafa, a former chief executive officer of Talaat Moustafa Group Holding, was found guilty on May 21 of paying a hit man to kill his former girlfriend, Suzanne Tamim. The murder and trial have captivated the media in the Arab world, where politicians and the wealthy are generally perceived to be above punishment.
Shares of Talaat Moustafa Group, Egypt’s biggest publicly- traded real estate developer, rose as much as 4.7 percent after the ruling. They were trading 3 percent higher at 8.12 Egyptian pounds ($1.48) at 12:12 p.m. in Cairo.
At the time of his arrest, Moustafa was a member of the upper house of parliament and belonged to the ruling National Democratic Party of President Hosni Mubarak.
Moustafa had an affair with Tamim, 31, and then paid former police officer Mohsen al-Sukary $2 million to kill her in Dubai after she left him, police say. Al-Sukary, who was sentenced to death, was also granted a retrial. Both men had pleaded not guilty.
The prosecutor said in September that Moustafa, who is married with three children, helped al-Sukary obtain visas to the U.K. and the United Arab Emirates so that he could stalk Tamim.
Al-Sukary entered Tamim’s Dubai apartment on July 28, 2008, on the pretext of doing work there and stabbed her repeatedly before cutting her throat, the prosecutor said.
Moustafa, who was born in 1959, was arrested and stripped of his parliamentary immunity a month after the killing.