FILE- Ahme Ezz during his trial before the State Council- Egypt Today/Mohamed Hassan
CAIRO – 14 April 2018: Cairo Criminal Court dropped the last corruption case against Egyptian steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz per the Reconciliation Law on Saturday.
The court dropped charges of squandering LE 5 billion of public money in the Dekheila Steel Company case. Ahmed Ezz and three others have reconciled with the Egyptian government, paying LE 1.7 billion ($96.4 million) for dropping all corruption cases against them.
In June 2011, Ezz, along with former Minister of Industry Ibrahim Mohamedein, Managing Director of Dekhila Steel Alaa Abul Kheir, and other company officials, was referred to trial on charges of profiteering and squandering around LE 5 billion of public funds between 2001 and 2011.
Ezz’s charges also included selling Dekheila products to his own company at below-market prices.
The Swiss authorities have handed Egypt a total of 33.8 million Swiss francs ($24.2 million) from Egyptian steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz’s blocked bank accounts after he conciliated with the Egyptian government, Anthony Brovarone, spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Prosecution, told NZZ am Sonntag newspaper on Saturday.
It was not announced when exactly the money was handed over, but Brovarone added that that money was “arranged” on Feb. 1, 2018.
As per the law, a Cairo court dropped another case against Ezz over charges of the misuse of public funds, which amounted to LE 660 million ($36.9 million) on March 8.
Following reconciliation with the government, the Swiss authorities have handed Egypt a total of 33.8 million Swiss francs ($24.2 million) from Ezz’s blocked bank accounts, Anthony Brovarone, spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Prosecution, told NZZ am Sonntag newspaper on March 27.
Switzerland has frozen suspicious money under Article 305 bis of the Swiss Criminal Code concerning money laundering. Since the January 2011 revolution, Egypt has asked the Swiss authorities to freeze the assets of former President Hosni Mubarak, his sons and his close circle, including Ezz, over charges of corruption and money laundering.
An estimated 650 million Swiss francs was smuggled to Switzerland out of Egypt by 14 suspects during Mubarak’s era. However, an amount of frozen money was unblocked after dropping the charges against some of those figures since December 2016. The current amount of money frozen with the criminal proceedings is around 430 million Swiss francs, and investigations are still being conducted against six people, including Mubarak’s sons, Alaa and Gamal.
In December 2016, Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber announced in a press conference in Cairo that charges of money laundering and organized crime were dropped against a number of suspects, and a total of 180 million Swiss francs were unfrozen and returned to their owners.