Wed, 14 Jul 2021 - 11:54 GMT
FILE - Egyptian businessman Hassan Rateb
CAIRO – 14 July 2021: A southern Cairo court judge ordered the detention of Egyptian businessman Hassan Rateb for another 15 days pending investigation over funding a former MP in illegal excavation operations.
The prosecution has accused Rateb of funding former MP Alaa Hassanin of funding the excavation of antiquities as its investigations revealed that Rateb provided millions of Egyptian pounds to Hassanin and his brother to help them in the excavation.
Security forces arrested Rateb late in June
The Egyptian Prosecution Public Prosecution early in July said the 227 artifacts seized with an excavation gang believed to be led by former MP Hassanin were confirmed to be antiquities.
A committee from the Supreme Council of Antiquities said all the seized antiquities date back to the Egyptian civilizations and belong to different ages, including the Prehistoric, Pharaonic, Greek, Roman and Islamic ages, according to the prosecution’s statement.
The antiquities also fall under the antiquity protection law, the committee affirmed.
The prosecution ordered the detention of Hassanin, former Al-Mihwar owner Hassan Rateb and 17 others pending investigation in the illegal excavation case.
Rateb is accused of funding the digging process, which, according to the police investigations, occurred in different areas in the republic.
Arresting Hassanin and an accompanying defendant in the case, the police found them possessing statues, stones and coins that are suspected of being antiquities, the prosecution said.
Hassanin denied leading the excavation gang with the aim of smuggling the antiquities to outside the country or carrying out digging operations to excavate and sell antiquities.
The former MP denied connection with the seized objects and the other defendants.
The prosecution said it seized four deep digging sites, noting that the antiquities committee confirmed that the digging work was made to excavate antiquities.
The prosecution also called upon everyone to take information on the issue from the prosecution’s statements and refrain from other inaccurate sources to ensure the integrity of procedures.