Prince Alwaleed agrees deal on land in Egypt

Egyptian gov't says billionaire's firm has agreed to give back most of land for farming project
Prince Alwaleed agrees deal on land in Egypt
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed.
By Reuters
Wed 20 Apr 2011 07:36 PM

A company owned by Saudi

billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal agreed to give back most

of the land it was allocated for a farming project in southern

Egypt, an Egyptian government spokesman said.

Egypt's public prosecutor has been investigating business

transactions, land deals and the finances of leading figures

under former president Hosni Mubarak since mass protests forced

him out of office on February 11.

The prosecutor said earlier this month the 1998 sale of land

to Alwaleed's Kingdom Agricultural Development Co (KADCO)

violated the law.

"Both parties agreed to the return to the Egyptian

government of 75,000 feddans out of a total of 100,000 feddans,"

the Agriculture Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

"The

company will own 10,000 feddans while cultivating another 15,000

feddans that it doesn't manage but will own in the future."

KADCO, part of Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding Co,

bought 100,000 feddans (420 million square metres) at Toshka

soon after the project was begun.

The project would use water pumped from Egypt's Aswan High

Dam reservoir along a 50 km (30 mile) canal to irrigate

reclaimed agricultural land 60 km from the Sudanese border.

The ministry spokesman said the firm will not receive any

monetary compensation for the returned land, adding that the

agreement needed to be approved by Egypt's cabinet.

Kingdom denied on Saturday that its land in Toshka had been

confiscated, after Egypt's state news agency said Alwaleed had

given up a claim to the land.

The Toshka contract was signed on the Egyptian side by

former Agriculture Minister Youssef Wali, whose assets have been

frozen, according to the prosecutor.

The country's real estate sector had been hit by a string of

legal rows involving sales of state land to big local

developers, which include Talaat Moustafa, Palm Hills, and Egyptian Resorts.

Egypt's cabinet said in a statement on Wednesday it had

proposed forming a committee to propose solutions to legal

disputes involving investors or foreign governments.

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