Egypt ex-housing minister gets 8 yrs jail for graft

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 29, 2012 8:19 AM
Egypt ex-housing minister gets 8 yrs jail for graft

CAIRO (Reuters) - A Cairo court sentenced former Housing Minister Ibrahim Soliman to eight years in jail on Thursday and fined him 2.18 billion Egyptian pounds ($360.9 million) for squandering public funds in two separate real estate deals.

The court also sentenced Magdi Rasekh, father-in-law of ousted President Hosni Mubarak's eldest son Alaa, in absentia to five years in jail and fined him 2.34 billion pounds in connection with one of deals.

The cases against Soliman, minister from 1993 to 2005, and Rasekh were first referred to the public prosecutor in May, three months after Mubarak was ousted in a public uprising.

They were convicted of selling state land to businessmen for less than their market value. The fines included compensation to the state as well as penalties.

They will not be required to return the land, much of which has been developed and sold on to other people.

Rasekh had been board chairman at property developer SODIC, but stepped down last year, adding to a list of resignations at property firms scrambling to distance themselves from the country's deposed president.

Six other businessmen and state employees were also sentenced and fined in the case.

SODIC shares fell one percent while Egypt's benchmark index eased 0.4 percent. ($1 = 6.0402 Egyptian pounds)

(Writing by Patrick Werr; Editing by Louise Ireland)