Egypt's former agriculture minister to face trial on corruption charges: sources

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 24, 2015 9:58 AM

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's former agriculture minister Salah El Din Mahmoud Helal will face trial on charges of corruption in a criminal court after prosecutors referred his case there, judicial sources said on Saturday.

Helal was arrested in September on suspicion of taking bribes in return for land licenses, just minutes after resigning from the cabinet.

"The supreme state security prosecutor decided to refer...the former minister of agriculture Salah Helal, several businessmen, and employees in the ministry, to criminal court for trial," Egypt's state newspaper reported on Saturday.

The prosecutor general's office said at the time of his arrest that it was investigating ministry officials including Helal on suspicion of taking bribes in exchange for granting land licenses.

The suspected bribes include a luxury home, membership of an exclusive sports club, clothing from high-end fashion stores, and mobile phones, the prosecutor general said in September.

Egypt ranked 94th out of 175 countries on Transparency International's 2014 corruption perceptions index. The country's 2011 uprising was partially driven by a desire to end entrenched corruption under autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak.

(Reporting by Mohamed Abdellah and Haitham Ahmed; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Hugh Lawson)