CAIRO: The North Cairo Criminal Court adjourned the re-trial of former Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy and five of his associates in the Egypt-Israel gas case to August 23, Youm7 reported.
The defendants are accused of harming the country interests and squandering public funds by selling and exporting natural gas to Israel at below-market rates.
The Court of Cassation ordered in March 25, 2013 the retrial of Fahmy and five other associates in the case after a sentence of 15 years in jail was issued against the defendants along with the infamous businessman Hussein Salem.
The 15 years sentence was issued in June 2012 for squandering public funds in gas deal with Israel.
For Fahmy, his appeal to the verdict was accepted and the court ordered a retrial, while for Salem, he has not appealed the verdict in which he was sentenced in absentia.
Egypt and Israel signed a deal in 2005 to provide Israel with natural gas. The deal built on the landmark 1979 peace accords. The public prosecution claimed the agreement lost Egypt over $714 million.
The deal was not welcomed by many Egyptians due to claims that Israel buys the gas at below-market rates, seen as an example of the corrupt deals made under former President Hosni Mubarak.
The Egyptian pipeline carrying natural gas to Israel across Sinai has been attacked several times since the start of the January 25 Revolution.
In April 2012, Egypt’s state-run gas company terminated a controversial natural gas deal with Israel.
Additional reporting by Mahmoud Nasr.