UK High Court halts Egyptian association bankruptcy

Marwan Sultan in London , Tuesday 17 Mar 2015

For the moment, the UK Egyptian Association (UKEA) does not have to repay a disputed loan from an Egyptian businessman

Mustafa Ragab
Mustafa Ragab , talking during an event in the Egyptian House, tries to push the British police to accelerate their investigation into dispute over UKEA chairmanship. (Photo : Ahram Online)

The UK High Court has accepted an appeal to “provisionally” save the largest and most influential Egyptian organisation in the UK from bankruptcy.

The court suspended a previous order by a different judge for Omar Ismail, the disputed chair of the UK Egyptian Association (UKEA), to repay a loan provided two years ago by an Egyptian businessman.

The court's documents, seen by Ahram Online, reveal Ismail admitted that he received the loan with an interest rate of 25 percent.

The appealed order required UKEA to repay £38,500 inclusive of court fees to the businessman, which would have led the organisation to bankruptcy.

UKEA secretary-general Dr Shenouda Shalaby expressed his relief at the provisional verdict, hoping it will enable the members “to save the organisation eventually.”

“At least we managed to freeze the order to repay the disputed loan and save our organisation and its money,” he told Ahram Online.

According to the new verdict, no money should be taken from UKEA’s bank account to repay the disputed loan.

Mostafa Ragab, co-founder of UKEA and current director of the Egyptian House in London, pledged to “fight till the end” to save the organisation.

The UKEA was established in 1994 with the purpose of serving the interests of Egyptians, estimated to be at around 200,000, in the UK.

Ragab and Shalaby, alongside other members, are consulting their legal advisers on filing a new appeal to receive a final decision on the dispute.

Meanwhile, Ragab has asked the Charity Commission, the regulator of registered charities in England and Wales, to expedite its investigating on the dispute over the chairmanship of UKEA.

UKEA has strong relations with local police, the council and the Community and Local Government Ministry. It has also been hailed for playing an active role helping integrate Egyptians into British society.

The organisation’s services include providing free funeral services, coordinating Hajj and Umra trips at budget prices, helping Egyptians integrate into UK society and advising on immigration issues.

The Egyptian embassy and consulate used to rely on UKEA to give possible help and support to Egyptian nationals, even if they aren’t members of the association.

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