The Giza Criminal Court sentenced on Wednesday steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz to at least 34 years in prison for squandering public funds.
The total length of Ezz’s sentence is unclear, as Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr reported he was sentenced to 34 years, while Al-Masry Al-Youm has reported a 37 year sentence.
According to prosecutors, Ezz, a close ally of former President Hosni Mubarak and a former leading official at his dissolved National Democratic Party, drew illegitimate gains worth LE4.821 billion between 2001 and 2011.
Ezz transferred debts owed by his private company, Ezz Steel, to the state-owned Dekheila steel company, before later buying a joint stake in the state-owned company.
He also sold Dekheila's products to his own company at below-market prices.
Ezz was found to have unified the brand name of both companies, turning them into Ezz-Dekheila, in order to funnel revenues from the state company into his own.
The court also sentenced former industry minister Ibrahim Mohamedein to a one year suspended sentence, while sentencing former chairman of the Chamber of Metallurgical Industries Alaa Abul Kheir to 17 years in prison. The two had also been charged with profiteering and squandering public funds.
According to investigations, Mohamedein, between 1999 and 2001, enabled Ezz to illicitly acquire stocks at Dekheila, sparing him the charge for the purchase and therefore awarding him profits worth LE687.435 million.