Ezz trials: Dekheila case adjourned, verdict on factory licenses upheld

Giza Criminal Court adjourned to Thursday the trial of Ahmed Ezz, the steel mogul and former senior official of the previously ruling National Democratic Party who is accused of illegally seizing shares of Dekheila Steel Company, which was state-owned at the time and then became an affiliate of Ezz Steel.

Also accused in the case are former Trade and Industry Minister Ibrahim Mohamedein and five Dekheila company officials.

Delivering his testimony during the Wednesday session, Ahmed Badry, a Justice Ministry expert, said some of Ezz’s decisions caused the company losses of LE97 million, including his decision not to sell company shares when they were worth LE1,500.

Since Dekheila merged with Ezz’s own company, becoming Ezz-Dekheila, it has failed to record any gains, according to Badry, who said he was unsure whether that was a direct consequence of the merger.

Badry added that under Ezz in February 2009, the company obtained loans of nearly LE3.5 billion from 11 banks, which he said were used to restructure the company’s debts. But the move cost the company millions of pounds in debt interests, he said.

In another trial, the Court of Cassation turned down Ezz’s appeal against an earlier 10-year prison sentence for illegally obtaining operating licenses for his steel plants. The court ordered Ezz to return two of the licenses to the state.

Also involved in that case are former Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid and former chairman of the Industrial Development Authority Amr Assal.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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