CAIRO: Disgraced Egyptian businessman Ahmed Ezz has been required to pay 252 million EGP ($35.2 million) in fines to be released from prison, but so far he has only managed to pay 152 million EGP, Youm7 reported Wednesday.
The business tycoon was arrested in February 2011 for being accused of squandering 5 billion EGP of public money in the Dekheila Steel Company.
He already paid fines of 50 million EGP in an illegal gains case, 100 million EGP in a money laundering case, and 2 million EGP in the Dekheila case, but he still has not paid a 100 million EGP fine in his ongoing monopoly case. The Economic Court refused a request from Ezz’s legal team to pay the 100 million EGP fine in installments, and demanded he pay the full sum to secure his release.
Ezz, previously an official in the National Democratic Party (NDP) of former President Hosni Mubarak, was also accused of laundering 6.4 billion EGP in illegally acquired funds between 2003 and 2011, in deals related to his acquisition of Ezz El-Dekheila (EZDK) steel plant. Ezz first appeared in court in February 2011, and has been on trial ever since.
He also faces charges of illegal sales of steel licenses, monopolistic practices in the Egyptian steel market, money laundering and selling Dekheila products to his own company at below-market prices.
Prison department head Maj. Gen. Mohamed Rateb told Youm7 that Ezz paid part of the required fines and a legal team was formed to follow up with the rest of the cases to see if there are still pending fines or other outstanding financial dues needed prior to Ezz’s release.
Ezz’s lawyers paid 152 million EGP for his unconditional release Wednesday morning according to Al-Masry Al-Youm, but prison officials have yet to release him until they receive the full 252 million EGP.