Zahi Hawass, Egypt's former top antiquities official (Photo: AP)
World-renowned Egyptologist and former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass was referred to the general prosecution Tuesday on fresh charges of corruption and squandering public funds accusations.
Hawass is accused of being involved in stealing artefacts belonging to Egyptian pharaoh King Khufu, after which the largest Giza pyramid is named.
Six Egyptian employees and three German researchers have been sentenced to five years in prison with labour for seizing the artefacts from the pyramid and smuggling them abroad.
According to the verdict, the Germans, who were sentenced in absentia, had access to the artefacts in field work while trying to prove the largest pyramid wasn't actually built on the Khufu era.
This is not the first time such accusations have been levelled at Hawass, although past investigations have cleared him of charges.
Hawass gained prominence in international media throughout his career, appearing in several documentaries and television series, including Chasing Mummies: The Amazing Adventures of Zahi Hawass, which was aired on the History Chanel in 2010.
Awarded a doctorate in Egyptology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987, Hawass is the author and co-author of several books, his latest being Ancient African Kingdoms on the Nile: Nubia, released in 2012. He was profiled as one the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2006.