Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb met with businessman Nassef Sawiris with the ministers of the cabinet’s economic group on Wednesday in order to seek a settlement to the tax dispute between Sawiris and the Tax Authority regarding an estimated EGP 7bn.
The discussion was held at the Ministry of Investment, where the cabinet economic group holds weekly meetings.
Investment Minister Ashraf Salman said in a statement Tuesday that the tax dispute between Sawiris and the Tax Authority has been referred to the Dispute Settlement Committee of the cabinet in order to be settled, but he declined to comment on the reason behind Sawiris visiting the investment ministry or the form of the new settlement.
Al-Borsa has learned from Cabinet sources that the government will not exempt Sawiris completely from paying the taxes owed in accordance with an agreement with Hisham Qandil’s government, but will negotiate the method for paying the taxes.
Sawiris made two payments in order to solve the dispute under Qandil’s government during the rule of former president Mohamed Morsi, but he then ceased payment after the former president’s ouster. Following this, Sawiris was sentenced to three years in jail but later challenged the ruling.
The tax dispute revolves around Sawiris having sold the cement sector of his company Orascom Construction Industries to global cement company Lafarge in order to benefit from a tax exemption under the capital market law, but the government annulled this exemption and demanded that Sawiris pay the taxes in a retroactive application of the law.