Court postpones retrial of Egypt steel tycoon Ezz

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din, Ahram Online, Monday 5 Aug 2013

Cairo Criminal Court orders postponement of Mubarak-era steel mogul Ahmed Ezz trial to December

File photo: Ahmed Ezz, a senior leader in former President Hosni Mubarak's party and chairman of Ezz Steel (Photo: Reuters)

The Cairo Criminal Court ordered on Monday the release of steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz without bail and postponed his retrial to 5 December on graft charges related to the illegal sale of steel licenses.

The former secretary-general of Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) will not be released, as he remains on trial for other cases.

In June, Egypt’s economic felonies court acquitted Ezz and two of his associates of charges of engaging in monopolistic practices in the Egyptian steel market, which Ezz Steel dominates by more than 45 percent.

Ezz was standing on trial with Amr Assal, the former chairman of the Industrial Development Authority.

In September 2011, Cairo's Criminal Court sentenced both former Mubarak’s officials to 10 years in prison on the aforementioned charge.

Rachid Mohamed Rachid, the former Minister of Trade and Industry, was sentenced to 15 years in absentia as well.

The court also fined Ezz and Assal LE660 million and ordered the concerned steel companies to renounce their licences.

Rachid was fined LE1.4 billion and ordered to refund the costs of the steel licenses he had helped grant to two companies.

In December 2012, however, Egypt's Court of Cassation cancelled another 10-year sentence a court had given him on graft charges related to the illegal sale of steel licenses.

After president Mubarak was ousted in a massive uprising in 2011, Ahmed Ezz became entangled in legal troubles. He was dismissed from his position as chairman of Ezz El-Dekheila in May 2011 and is currently under guard at Tora Prison in southeast Cairo.

Last May, Egypt's Court of Cassation ordered Ezz be retried, after he successfully appealed his conviction on charges related to his alleged role in money laundering, illicit profiteering and appropriation of public funds.

The court cancelled his seven-year prison sentence in October 2012 and LE19.3 billion fine.  

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