Court upholds 3 year jail sentence for Egypt tycoon Nassef Sawiris

El-Sayed Gamal , Monday 15 Sep 2014

Former OCI chairman sentenced in absentia to 3 years in prison and $7 million fine for failing to pay tax settlement to authorities after Prosecutor General's acquittal last February

Nassef Sawiris
Nassef Sawiris (Photo:Ahram)

An Egyptian misdemeanour appeals court has upheld a previous ruling sentencing construction tycoon Nassef Sawiris to three years of jail time and a LE50 million ($7 million) fine for failing to pay a settlement to Egypt's Tax Authority.

The original in-absentia ruling had been appealed in July, but Sawiris, former CEO of construction and fertilizer producer Orascom Construction Industries, failed to attend the appeals court session on Sunday. 

In March 2013, the Ministry of Finance under president Mohamed Morsi had accused OCI of tax evasion related to a 2007 $15 billion deal with French cement giant Lafarge, and demanded the company pay LE14.4 billion.

The two sides later reached an agreement that OCI pay $7.1 billion to the authorities, in several installments, until 2017.

In February of this year however, Egypt's Prosecutor General issued a decision acquitting OCI S.A.E. of any wrongdoing tax evasion charges, prompting the company to refrain from paying a LE900 million installment due last December.

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