File photo: Ahmed Ezz arrives in a police vehicle outside a court in north Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
Cairo Criminal Court ordered the release of Egyptian business tycoon Ahmed Ezz on bail worth LE100 million on Thursday, although Ezz will not be released as he is facing retrials in other corruption cases.
Ezz is being retried on charges of laundering LE6.4 billion in illegally acquired funds between 2003 and 2011 in deals related to his acquisition of Ezz El-Dekheila (EZDK) steel plant.
Ezz is the former chairman of Ezz Steel and has a 55 percent stake in EZDK, the largest steel complex in the Middle East. It was previously known as Alexandria National Iron and Steel Company (ANISC) before Ezz, then a mid-rank steel manufacturer, was called in to bail out the struggling publicly-owned company in 1999.
He was found guilty of the charges in October 2012 and was sentenced to seven years in prison as well as a fine of LE19.3 billion. However, the state’s Court of Cassation accepted his appeal in May, ordering a retrial.
In June, Egypt’s economic felonies court acquitted Ezz and two of his associates of separate charges of engaging in monopolistic practices in the Egyptian steel market.
The public funds prosecution had referred him to court in January, along with Ezz Steel managing director Alaa Abul-Kheir and sales manager Samir Noaman, on charges of violating Law 3 of 2005 on monopolistic practices.
In December 2012, 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 licences.
Ezz was secretary-general of Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party prior to the 2011 revolution and was a close associate of the former president's son Gamal Mubarak.