Mubarak-era Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali
The acquittal ends a decade-long ordeal for Ghali, who lives in asylum in the United Kingdom – which has no extradition agreement with Egypt – since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
In June 2011, he was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison, dismissed from his position, and ordered to pay more than EGP 70 million in compensation and fines for profiteering and abusing state and private assets.
Ghali's lawyers filed for a retrial, which was granted in February 2020, and have now managed to overturn the verdict.
The former finance minister was accused of issuing a series of ministerial decisions between 2004 and 2011 authorizing the official use of cars held at the Customs Authority's compound, then under the Ministry of Finance.
These cars were supposed to be held and returned to their owners once their customs were settled or sold at auction.
The prosecution alleged that Ghali used these cars without the owners' consent, allocating six to his personal convoy and 96 cars to other entities.
Investigations by the prosecution calculated that the value of these cars totalled EGP 35,791,000. The court ordered him to repay that amount and a similar fee as a fine.
In another charge, the court had also ruled that he used the ministry's printing centre to produce a large amount of materials for his personal election campaign for a seat in parliament in 2010.
Ghali was previously acquitted in a retrial of a separate case in November 2202, known as the "License Plate Case".
Ghali stated in an interview with Cairo 24 news website that he plans to return to Egypt shortly following his acquittal. The former minister emphasized that upon his return, he intends to resume a normal life as a private citizen, expressing no intention to reengage in politics or public affairs.
However, he clarified that if consulted on matters concerning the financial sector, he would willingly offer his expertise, reiterating his desire to maintain distance from political involvement.