Update: Mubarak Oil Minister acquitted of illegally exporting gas to Israel
Former Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy.

CAIRO: Former Minister of Petroleum Sameh Fahmy and other 5 co-defendants were acquitted Saturday of charges of exporting Egyptian gas to Israel at illegal below-market prices aand wasting public funds during the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak.

The Egyptian-Spanish fugitive business tycoon Hussein Salem, Fahmy and the other defendants were given in June 2012 different prison sentences from 3 to 15 years.

Fahmy and the other five defendants appealed their sentences; On March 25, 2013, the Court of Cassation accepted their appeal and referred the case to another panel of a Cairo Criminal Court which gave the acquittal sentence Saturday. Fahmy was acquitted in absentia.

According the investigation, Fahmy was accused of negotiating with an Israeli official to export Egyptian gas to Israel at below-market prices in 2000 without a gradual increase in the price for 15 years. The contract states that the period could be extended for an additional 5 years.

Saturday’s sentence could be challenged by the Egyptian General Prosecution as the case was not considered by the panel of the Court of Cassation itself, which gives final rulings in all cases.

Additional reporting by Mahmoud Nassr

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