Steel magnate Ahmed Ezz was handed a release order by the Giza Criminal Court on Monday but the businessman remains held on graft and money laundering charges.
Ezz’s defence team requested his release citing that Ezz completed the period of preventative detention permitted by the law, state-run MENA reported. He was ordered released for the charge of illegal acquisition of majority stake in a state-run iron and steel company, with a bail set at EGP 2m.
The former senior member of the now defunct National Democratic Party, the ruling party during the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, was sentenced in March 2013 by the Giza Criminal Court to 37 years in a high security prison and fined EGP 2bn. In December 2013, the Court of Cassation annulled the sentence and ordered a retrial.
During the first trial, which included former Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Ibrahim Mohamedein, he was convicted for profiteering and damaging public funds worth nearly EGP 5bn in an acquisition of the Alexandria National Iron and Steel Company (ANISC), located in Dekheila. The state-run company was believed to be the largest steel conglomerate in the Middle East at the time.
The former minister allegedly allowed Ezz to illegally take over company.
According to investigations cited in state media, Ezz used his own companies to increase his grip over ANISC, devaluing its capital and dropping his debt to the company.
In addition, he sold the ANISC products to his own steel businesses for less than production price. He eventually unified the trademark of his companies and the national company, aptly calling it Ezz Dekheila Steel Company.
Ezz has long been accused of holding a monopoly over the steel market. He was also head of the organisation committee in the National Democratic Party and is believed to be the architect of the 2010 parliamentary elections that gave the party a 99% super majority.