Court upholds jail term for disgraced Egypt tycoon

Ahram Online and agencies, Tuesday 7 Feb 2012

Hesham Talaat Moustafa will serve his 15-year term as judgement finally brings an end to his battle to avoid prison

Talaat Moustafa
Archive photo of Hesham Talaat Moustafa in custody (Photo: AP)

An Egyptian appeal court upheld a 15-year prison sentence for property tycoon and ex-politician Hesham Talaat Moustafa for his role in the murder of a Lebanese singer, ending his three-year battle to avoid jail, a judicial source said.

The former member of parliament and ex-chairman of property firm Talaat Moustafa Group was found guilty in 2009 of paying an Egyptian security man to kill Suzanne Tamim, and sentenced to death by hanging.

The verdict was commuted to 15 years in prison after a retrial in 2010 but Moustafa challenged it before the appeal court.

A life sentence for the security man, Muhsen El-Sukkari, was also upheld, the court ruled late on Monday. 

The last couple of years were not very favorable for the Talaat Moustafa family, with the property firm battling legal challenges to the building of its Madinaty residential project.

The property developer's $3 billion high-end project, which is still under construction, has been mired in a legal row since a court in November 2011 said the land on which it is built should have been sold at auction.

Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG) Holding describes itself as the leading community real estate developer in Egypt, with a land bank of 50 million square meters, according to its website.

Amongst the group's projects is Al Rehab City, East of Cairo, spread over 9.9 million sqm and set to house 200,000 residents. Upon completion, Madinaty will span over 33.6 million square metres of land with 600,000 target residents, making it the biggest all-inclusive enclosed city in the Middle East.

TMG's interests also extend to hotels and resorts. Its has developed three large-scale luxury hotels: Nile Plaza in Cairo, San Stefano in Alexandria, and Four Seasons in Sharm El Sheikh.

TMG stock on the Cairo exchange fell 2.26 per cent in value by mid-Tuesday.

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