Saudi billionaire settles Egyptian land issue

AP, Tuesday 26 Apr 2011

Alwaleed is to return three-quarters of the land he bought at cut-rate prices during Mubarak's reign as 'a gift to the Egyptian people'

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal confirmed to cede three-quarters of agricultural land he acquired in Egypt as a gift to the Egyptian people.

Alwaleed, who heads the investment firm Kingdom Holding Co., has been under fire over more than 100,000 acres he bought at cut-rate prices as part of a mega project launched by the now ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak.

The case was another example of cronyism rampant under Mubarak. The Toshka land project from the late 1990s hoped to transform a desert area and create a second Nile Valley.

Alwaleed said after meeting visiting Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf on Monday night that an agreement was signed with the Egyptian Agriculture Ministry to give back 75,000 acres as a gift to the Egyptian people.

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