Ahmed Ezz, one of the most prominent figures in the former regime, has been convicted of money laundering and still faces charges of profiteering and illegally seizing public funds
By Ahmed Aboul Enein
Steel tycoon, and former head of the National Democratic Party (NDP) organisation committee, Ahmed Ezz was sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay over EGP 19 billion in fines by a Cairo criminal court on Thursday.
Ezz was found guilty of money laundering related to profiteering and illegally seizing public funds, charges for which he still faces trial.
The court found that Ezz laundered over EGP 6 billion. He was ordered to pay back the money, as well as additional damages of double that amount.
His trial over further charges of profiteering and illegally seizing public funds has been postponed until Tuesday 31 October.
The prosecution will accuse Ezz of making a deal with former Minister of Industry Ibrahim Mohamedeen. The former minister allegedly allowed Ezz to illegally take over the state-owned Dekheila steel company.
Ezz was a prominent figure in former President Hosni Mubarak’s now defunct NDP. He was head of the organisation committee and was the architect of the 2010 parliamentary elections that gave the party a 99 percent super majority.
He was also one of the closest allies to Mubarak’s son, Gamal, and the two were viewed as the defining figures of the “new guard” within the party.
Through the policies committee of the party, of which the younger Mubarak was chairman and Ezz a member, the two steered the government into adopting aggressive neoliberal policies of free market capitalism, with the state selling off most of the companies nationalised in the 1960s by late President Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Despite his advocacy for free market policies, Ezz, who was also a member of the lower house of parliament, the People’s Assembly, has long been accused of holding a monopoly on the steel market.