Egypt's prosecutor freezes assets of 23 prominent businessmen

Ahram Online, Monday 18 Mar 2013

Egyptian and Saudi businessmen – including Mubarak sons and EFG-Hermes officials – face investigation for alleged 2007 insider trading

File photo : Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, the two most prominent defendants in the case (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's prosecutor-general on Sunday evening froze the assets of 21 businessmen, along with those of several Egyptian brokerage firms and bank officials, all of whom are currently under investigation for alleged stock market manipulation.

Nine of the men on the list were initially indicted in May of last year, including ousted President Hosni Mubarak's two sons, Gamal and Alaa; EFG-Hermes CEOs Yasser El-Malawany and Hassan Heikal; former EFG-Hermes CEO Amr El-Kady; and four others.

The men face charges of engaging in insider trading and stock manipulation regarding the 2007 sale of El-Watany Bank of Egypt to the National Bank of Kuwait.

Other individuals whose assets were frozen on Sunday – including Saudi businessmen Abdel-Rahman Hassan and Hassan Abdel Rahman Al-Sharbatly and Egyptian businessman Hisham El-Sewedy – were subsequently added to the ongoing investigation, according to judicial sources who spoke to Ahram Online.

The Golden Pyramids Plaza company told the Egyptian Stock Exchange Monday that it had yet to receive official notification of the asset freeze on company chairman Al-Sharbatly and son and company board member Hassan.

El-Sewedy Electric company, meanwhile, clarified that Hisham El-Sewedy was not a major company official nor a company board member.

EFG Hermes, for its part, released a statement stating that the freezing of Heikal's and El-Malawany's personal assets did not affect the firm's operations.

The Cairo Appeals Court, meanwhile, announced that it would review on Wednesday the asset freezes ordered by Egyptian Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdullah.

On Monday, shares in El-Watany Bank plummet by over 5 percent and shares in EFG-Hermes fell by 1.28 percent, with trading on five stocks being temporarily suspended after they exceeded the 5-percent fluctuation limit. 

Correction: Ahram Online earlier reported 21 people had their assets frozen. The number was in fact 23.

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