CAIRO: After EFG Hermes CEO Yasser El-Mallawany was banned from traveling earlier this week, the firm said it “categorically denies” any connection between the ban and the Port Said case.
“EFG Hermes categorically denies that the travel ban against Mr. El-Mallawany is in any way connected with the recent events in Port Said,” the firm said in an emailed statement.
El-Mallawany, one of the firms two CEOs, was stopped Sunday night at Cairo’s international airport while trying to head to the United Arab Emirates. An Associated Press report quoted an anonymous source from the Justice Ministry saying that El-Mallawany is under investigation for allegedly hiring thugs to attack revolutionary youth groups at a Port Said football match on Feb. 1.
The firm denied these allegations, however, saying in the statement, “No charges of any form have been laid against Mr. El-Mallawany. The firm has been informed that the ban was issued as a precautionary measure, as similar bans have been imposed in the past 12 months on other individuals in Egypt.”
Asked about whether his travel ban was linked to the post-match melee, El-Mallawany told The Associated Press: "Categorically, no."
"This has nothing to do with Port Said," he said
Violence last week at a football match in Port Said left at least 74 dead in what many Egyptians have labeled a “massacre.” Since then, 15 people have died and over 2,000 were injured in ensuing protests, during which security forces have used teargas and birdshots to disperse crowds, according to eyewitnesses.
The regional investment bank said in a statement Tuesday that the rest of its executives continue to travel without “hindrance.”
“In light of the recent news of a travel ban having been imposed on one of EFG Hermes’ two Chief Executive Officers, the firm notes that it is unaware of any travel ban or similar restrictions having been placed on any other EFG Hermes executive.
“The firm’s executives continue to travel frequently on EFG Hermes business without let or hindrance,” according to the statement.
As conflicting reports circulated about the reasons behind the travel ban on Monday, the firm’s shares fell 4.5 percent to LE 11.01 on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), but were recovering slightly early Tuesday.
EFG Hermes, listed on both the EGX and the London Stock Exchange (LSE), has repeatedly come under fire this past year for its affiliation with Gamal Mubarak and his close business associates.
Ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s sons, Gamal and Alaa, are both facing trial on corruption charges.
Gamal owns 18 percent of the investment bank’s subsidiary EFG Hermes Private Equity, which generates no more than 7 percent of EFG Hermes Holding’s total revenue. EFG has said it does not manage any funds or portfolios for Mubarak or his family and did not receive any special privileges from the Egyptian government, Reuters reported.
“EFG Hermes is not involved in any investigation and no charges of any kind have been addressed to the firm,” the statement added.
“EFG Hermes will continue to proactively release pertinent information on this issue in a timely manner, as is required by disclosure regulations of the Egyptian Exchange.
“The firm adheres to global best practices in corporate governance and transparency, with standards that exceed the requirements of the vast majority of the markets in which it operates.”