Orascom Development's Samih Sawiris handed prison sentence
Reuters, Sunday 28 Aug 2011
Samih Sawiris, executive chairman of Orascom Development Holding was sentenced to two years in prison for manipulating the firm's stock price and providing incorrect financial data


An Egyptian court sentenced the executive chairman of real estate and hotels firm Orascom Development to two years in jail for manipulating the firm's stock price and providing incorrect data on its finances, a judicial source said.

Samih Sawiris was also fined 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($8,401) and denied the right to trade in the stock market for one year, the judicial source said, quoting the economic court's initial ruling issued on Thursday.

The source said that Sawiris had the right to appeal against the verdict and could remain at liberty on payment of 20,000 pounds' bail until a final ruling is issued.

Orascom Development said it would appeal against the verdict, which it said was "not final, and its execution is not binding at this time".

Orascom Development said the general prosecutor had referred the case to the court without investigating the accusations against Sawiris with the company.

It said the court had reached its verdict after only two procedural sessions and without accepting the company's request to defend itself.

"The company would like to confirm that ... its work will not be affected by this initial ruling and that there is no legal impact on the company's activities or commitments and that it will move forward in its leading developmental project in the Egyptian community," the statement added.

Swiss-listed Orascom Development has been diversifying its business, but Egypt remains its biggest market. Businesses there came to a near standstill for almost 50 days due to the uprising that ended the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

Orascom Development slumped to a first-half loss, hit by economic disruption caused by the uprising and the strengthening of its reporting currency, the Swiss franc.

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