Egypt drops case against Mubarak-era steel tycoon

Ahmed Ezz formerly owned Ezz Steel Co. (Reuters pic)
Ahmed Ezz formerly owned Ezz Steel Co. (Reuters pic)

CAIRO: An Egyptian court on Thursday dropped a years-long case and lifted a travel ban against steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz, who was sentenced to 37 years in prison in 2013 for profiteering and squandering public funds, judicial sources said.

Ezz paid 1.7 billion Egyptian pounds (RM378 million) to authorities in a deal reached to settle the case, the sources said. He had already been released on bail in July.

Ezz, the former owner of Ezz Steel Co, was charged after Egypt’s 2011 popular uprising with using his position as a leading official in former president Hosni Mubarak’s dissolved National Democratic Party to make illegitimate gains of about five billion Egyptian pounds (RM1.11 billion).

The sources gave no further details about why the case was dropped.

Ezz is one of many close associates of Mubarak to have faced embezzlement charges, several of whom have also had charges or trials dropped. A court in January quashed the conviction and prison sentence of ex-interior minister Habib al-Adly and ordered a retrial.

Mubarak, a former air force commander, was last year cleared of all charges brought against him after the uprising, including the killing of protesters and corruption.

Senior military officers have dominated Egypt’s politics and large chunks of its economy for decades. A year after Mubarak’s overthrow in 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi won a presidential election. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, then the military commander, led the overthrow of Morsi in 2013 after popular protests and took office a year later.

Sisi is running for re-election later this month in a vote he is virtually guaranteed to win.