Egyptian businessman sentenced by criminal court and given US $890m fine for profiteering
The former owner of Ezz Steel Co, Ahmed Ezz, has been sentenced to 37 years in prison for profiteering and squandering public funds.
An Egyptian criminal court issued the sentence on Wednesday, and also fined Ezz six billion Egyptian pounds (US$890m), according to state news agency Mena and a judicial source.
Ezz had been charged with using his position as a leading official in the now dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP) to make illegitimate gains of about five billion Egyptian pounds between 2001 and 2011.
The NDP was the party of deposed former president Hosni Mubarak, and Ezz is one of many associated of Mubarak to face similar charges, along with former finance minister Youssef Boutrus Ghaly, businessman Hussein Salem, and Mubarak’s sons Gamal and Alaa.
Prosecutors said that Ezz had transferred debts owed by Ezz Steel to the state-owned Dekheila steel company before buying a joint stake in the company. He also sold Dekheila’s products to his own company at below-market prices.
Ezz was also found to have unified the brand name of both companies to make Ezz-Dekheila, in order to funnel revenues from the state company into his own.
The court also sentenced former industry minister Ibrahim Mohamedein to a one year suspended sentence, and former chairman of the chamber of metallurgical industries Alaa Abu Khair to 17 years in prison, both charged with profiteering and squandering public funds.