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Egypt acquits ex-minister over Israel gas deal Open in fullscreen

Tariq Nagm al-Deen

Egypt acquits ex-minister over Israel gas deal

Former oil minister, Fahmy, was first arrested and held in custody in April 2011 [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 23 February, 2015

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Sameh Fahmy, held on charges of having cost Egypt over $714m in revenue losses,is acquitted in the latest in a series of acquittals of Mubarak-era figures.

Egyptian judicial officials say a former oil minister under ousted president Hosni Mubarak has been ruled innocent of corruption-related charges.

Sameh Fahmy was accused of squandering public funds and profiteering by exporting natural gas to Israel for prices lower than global market rates. He was held by the court on charges of having cost Egypt over $714m in revenue losses through “unfair contractual conditions”.

Fahmy was first arrested and held in custody in April 2011. He was sentenced in June 2012 and had successfully appealed his sentence in 2013. The Court of Cassation ordered a retrial and Fahmy was released shortly after.

     Israel relied on Egyptian gas to produce 40 percent of its electricity


The judicial source said the Cairo Criminal Court found Fahmy and five others innocent of the charges.

The sale of gas to Israel, which signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 after four wars, was always controversial in the Arab world's most populous country.

Egypt began exporting gas to Israel in 2008, after the two governments reached a 20-year agreement in 2005. The accord stated that the private Egyptian-Israeli company, the East Mediterranean Gas Company, would export up to seven billion cubic metres of gas annually.

However, Sinai-based militants have continuously sabotaged the pipeline after Mubarak's ouster in 2011 until the export deal was halted in April 2012.

Throughout the export period, Israel was relying on Egyptian gas to produce 40 percent of its electricity. 

This verdict is  In November, Mubarak and his interior minister Habib al-Adly were cleared of charges of killing peaceful protesters during the 2011 uprising that unseated him. Mubarak was also cleared in that trial of exporting gas to Israel at below market price.



With additional reporting by AFP and Associated Press

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