Mubarak-era trade minister to face corruption charges

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din and Marwa Hussein, Monday 17 Mar 2014

Rashid Mohamed Rashid has already been convicted in absentia in two other corruption cases

Rashid Mohamed Rashid
Rashid Mohamed Rashid looks on as he attends the 39th Mercosur summit in San Juan, August 3, 2010 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's Illicit Gains Authority decided on Monday to refer Rashid Mohamed Rashid, trade and industry minister during the Mubarak era, to court on corruption charges.

The government body accuses Rashid and his daughter Alia, both of whom left the country in January 2011, of illicit profiteering and of transferring LE500 million ($71.4 million) to Cyprus.

The body has also requested that Interpol arrest both Rashid and his daughter.

Rashid is accused of buying shares in EFG Hermes in 2002 as the company was planning to increase its capital. Authorities suspect Rashid, who at the time was not minister but was a senior figure with Mubarak's National Democratic Party, made the decision based on insider information.

"Rashid was already a shareholder and participated in the capital increase as other shareholders. He did not have any internal information," Gamil Said, Rashid's lawyer, told Ahram Online.

Said added that Rashid's daughter transferred an amount of money to her father in order to finalise the transaction.

Rashid was convicted in absentia in two other cases in which he had been accused of squandering public funds while serving as trade minister. Accusations included subsidising food export industries while holding shares in certain related companies and other graft charges related to the illegal sale of steel-manufacturing licences while in office.

"My client paid about LE3 million in questions in those two cases, and he can appeal the verdict," said Said.

According to the law, sentences in absentia are cancelled only in the presence of the accused, even in cases of settlement.

In May 2013, the court lifted the assets-freeze order previously imposed on Rashid's wife.

Several eminent members of the Mubarak regime have been acquitted of different charges related to embezzling and squandering public funds.

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