Mubarak-era Egypt steel tycoon released on bail

AP News
Posted: Aug 08, 2014 1:22 PM
Mubarak-era Egypt steel tycoon released on bail

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian steel tycoon close to the family of ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak was released on bail after spending three years in detention on a raft of corruption allegations, his lawyers said Friday.

Wearing a neck brace and a business suit without a jacket, Ahmed Ezz emerged from a police station late Thursday after posting EGP 152 ($21.2) million bail in three different cases, the lawyers said.

He has also been forced to pay $1.5 million as a first installment on $14 million worth of fines connected to a fourth monopoly case. An appeals court is set to hear the case in November.

Ezz was the chairman of EzzSteel, the largest steel producer in the Middle East. He was close to Mubarak's son Gamal, who was widely believed to have been groomed to succeed his father.

Ezz is facing three different trials on corruption charges -- including money laundering, graft and illicit gains -- all of which he has appealed after being found guilty by lower courts and granted retrials, lawyer Mohammed Tanweer said.

The steel magnate was a senior member of Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party, which in the waning years of his nearly three-decade reign had come to be seen as a corrupt patronage network dominated by businessmen close to the president's family.

Ezz organized the NDP's last election campaign in 2010, which saw widespread fraud in favor of its candidates.

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The uprising against Mubarak the following year was largely fueled by anger at Ezz and other prominent businessmen close to the president's family, who were perceived as having become rich through corruption and insider deals.

The NDP headquarters in Cairo was torched early on in the 18-day uprising, and Ezz was among dozens of Mubarak loyalists and party leaders who were arrested over corruption charges after the president resigned. The party was dissolved by a court order a few months later.

Mubarak, his two sons and his former interior minister face retrials on charges including involvement in the killing of protesters during the uprising.