Egypt bans Citadel head, ex-PM from travel

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 14, 2011 11:28 AM

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's public prosecutor has ordered a travel ban on the chairman of private equity firm Citadel Capital, Ahmed Heikal, and former Prime Minister Atef Obeid over corruption allegations, the state news agency MENA reported on Thursday.

The travel ban was ordered in relation to allegations over the wasting of public funds, MENA reported citing a spokesman for the public prosecutor.

"The public prosecutor decided today to insert the name of Atef Obeid, the former prime minister, and Ahmed Heikal, the owner of Citadel Capital, relating to facts that the former facilitated the latter from embezzlement of public money and profiteering," said a statement from the public prosecution.

The statement, entitled "Public Prosecutor Orders Travel Ban on Obeid and Heikal," also said the prosecution is continuing investigations on a case in which Obeid cheaply sold a cement firm to Heikal, who then resold it at a higher price to foreign investors.

Citadel, in a statement, denied the comments made by the public prosecutor's office and its spokesman.

Egypt's public prosecutor last week sequestered funds belonging to Obeid as part of a probe into alleged squandering of public funds relating to the sale of state-owned Assiut Cement, a local affiliate of Mexican company Cemex, the state news agency MENA reported.

Obeid was prime minister from 1999 to 2004. He resigned under increasing pressure from business leaders demanding faster privatization measures.

(Reporting by Sarah Mikhail, editing by Miral Fahmy)