Egypt refers former housing minister for trial

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CAIRO: Egypt’s general prosecutor referred former housing minister Ibrahim Soliman and four of his deputies to trial for squandering public funds, the state news agency said on Wednesday.

Soliman, the second housing minister to face trial, was minister from 1993 to 2005 and has come under fire for his role in several controversial deals with real estate firms.

Magdi Rasekh, the father-in-law of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s eldest son Alaa and former board chairman at property developer SODIC, will also be referred for trial.

Rasekh stepped down from SODIC’s board last week, adding to a list of resignations at property firms scrambling to distance themselves from the country’s deposed president.

SODIC, Egypt’s third-biggest property developer, says all its land deals have been fair and legal. No charges have been brought against the firm.

MENA said that according to the charges, Soliman gave unwarranted privileges to business executives, in violation of contracts and financial commitments, and enabled Rasekh to make LE 907.7 million ($153 million) profit in a single land purchase.

Soliman is further accused of relieving Rasekh from paying LE 13.8 million in fees that would be due to the government. Rasekh was also given the right to sell a plot of land, in violation of regulations, the agency added.


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