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Egypt's government agrees to settle with Mubarak-era trade minister Rashid: Media reports

Ahram Online , El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Tuesday 29 Nov 2016
Rachid Mohamed Rashid
File Photo: Former minister Rachid Mohamed Rashid (Photo: Ahram)
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The Egyptian justice ministry's Asset Recovery Committee reportedly approved on Monday a settlement deal with Mubarak-era former minister of trade Rashid Mohamed Rashid that could end his criminal troubles with the government, state news agency MENA reported, citing judicial sources.

According to MENA's sources, the committee agreed on reconciliation with Rashid after reviewing “official reports” that exonerated him of all charges regarding how he obtained his assets and wealth.

The sources said that these reports showed that his personal and family assets and investments pre-date his appointment as trade minister in 2004, which absolves him of charges that he abused his post for profit.

Other judicial sources told Ahram Online that the reconciliation was reached on 21 November.

The sources added that the committee initially asked Rashid to give up nearly EGP 1.6 billion to the government as a condition for reconciliation, though this figure was later reduced to EGP 500 million.

According to the reported settlement, all criminal charges against Rashid would be dropped.

After the ousting of ex-president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, Rashid left the country.

He was later accused in cases of squandering public funds and illicit gains during his tenure as trade minister from July 2004 to January 2011.

In 2011, the former minister was sentenced in absentia to 5 years in prison over graft and corruption charges; and15 years and a fine of EGP 1.4 billion for squandering nearly EGP 600 million in public funds after issuing questionable licenses to steel business tycoon and former NDP leading figure Ahmed Ezz.

In 2013, Rashid paid EGP 15 million to the government in relation with two cases.

In March 2014, Egypt's Illicit Gains Authority referred Rashid to court on corruption charges, accusing him and his daughter Alia of illicit gains and of illegally transferring EGP 500 million to private accounts in Cyprus.

Rashid's lawyer Gamil Said told Ahram Online he could not comment on the reported deal, saying he is merely responsible for handling Rashid’s court cases, not any settlement with the state.

Rashid is the latest high-profile Mubarak-era figure to reportedly reach a settlement in criminal cases with the Egyptian government.

In recent months, Egyptian business tycoon Hussein Salem, a former close associate of Mubarak, reached a financial settlement with the government in which charges against him were dropped in exchange for EGP 5.3 billion (approx. $596.5 million).

Article 18 of the penal code allows the country’s top prosecutor to form a reconciliation committee upon defendants' requests.

The Illicit Gains Authority has received 26 requests from other Mubarak-era figures for reconciliation with the government, according to Adel El-Saied, a justice ministry aide.

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