CAIRO: Attorney General Hisham Barakat referred Upper Egypt-based businessman Ahmed al-Mesterayah to the criminal court over asset misappropriation and fraud charges, Youm7 reported Sunday.
Mesterayah is charged of collecting large amounts of investment from locals in Upper Egypt with promised return rates ranging from 15-25 percent a month, while the best state or private bank could offer is around 13 percent a year.
Last week, financial and public fund prosecutors in several governorates in Upper Egypt investigated claims filed against Mesterayah accusing him of collecting large amounts of money to allegedly establish investments for the victims, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
On Wednesday, a warrant was issued against Mesterayah who was arrested a day later in Cairo’s district of Dokki. Accordingly, Barakat issued an order seizing the property and funds of the businessman.
Most victims said that Mesterayah was punctual in paying interest since he started the business in 2011 until earlier this year.
In a phone call that aired Monday on Al-Mehwar TV satellite channel, the businessman said that he “had been experiencing a financial drop” and asked the creditors to give him time to pay the money back.
On Thursday, Barakat has ordered Mesterayah be placed on a no-fly list pending investigations.
The Cairo Economic Court is set to consider a decision to freeze Mesterayah’s assets Sunday.