File photo: Ahmed Ezz, former senior leader in former President Hosni Mubarak's party and chairman of Ezz Steel, arrives in a police vehicle outside the court in north Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
Egyptian steel magnate Ahmed Ezz has been sentenced to seven years in prison and fined LE19.3 billion ($3.1bn) after being found guilty of corruption by a Cairo court.
The Ezz Steel owner was sentenced for his role in money laundering, illicit profiteering and appropriation of public funds.
The court found that Ezz had laundered LE6.4 billion in illegally acquired funds between 2003 and 2011 in deals related to his acquisition of Ezz El-Dekheila steel plant.
It was Ezz's second such sentence. Last year, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison also on graft charges and fined, along with other former ministers and officials. He is already serving time for that conviction.
Ezz Steel has a 55 per cent stake in EZDK, the largest steel complex in the Middle East. It was previously known as Alexandria National Iron and Steel Company (ANISC) before Ahmed Ezz, then a mid-rank steel manufacturer, was called in to bail-out the struggling publicly owned company in 1999.
Using his companies Ezz Steel and Ezz Industries, Ezz gradually increased his holding of ANISC, changed its name and became the chairman of the region's largest steel conglomerate.
The former chief whip of Hosni Mubarak’s now-defunct National Democratic Party was arrested in the aftermath of Egypt's January 2011 uprising.
He quit the board of Ezz Steel and its Ezz Dekheila Steel unit last spring and denied any wrongdoing. The two companies were not mentioned in Thursday's ruling.