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Ex-Egypt Oil Minister Samih Fahmi jailed for 15 years

Fahmi and fugitive businessman Hussein Salem jailed over Israel gas export deal

Hussein salem 2012 03 02Enlarge
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is alleged to have allowed Hussein Salem to buy discounted land on Egypt’s Red Sea coast from the government in exchange for five luxury villas. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)

A court in Egypt has sentenced the country’s former oil minister and a businessman to 15 years in jail over their role in a natural gas export deal to Israel.

A judicial source told the Agence France Presse Thursday that “the Cairo criminal court sentenced former Oil Minister Samih Fahmi and fugitive businessman Hussein Salem to 15 years in prison” for “exporting gas to Israel at below market value” and undermining Egyptian interests.

Ten other former oil and gas officials also received prison sentences ranging from three to 10 years and fines totalling $412.47 million, Reuters reported.

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According to the BBC, the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company, in which Salem was a major shareholder, purchased gas from the government of ex-dictator Hosni Mubarak at below market value and then sold it on to Israel at prices which remained below market level but nevertheless constituted a substantial mark-up.

Salem, a close Mubarak associate and who allegedly siphoned off more than $700 million in public money as part of the arrangement, fled to Spain in February 2011, eight days before Mubarak was forced to stand down by anti-government demonstrators. In March Spain’s National Court said it would extradite him to Egypt to stand trial.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/120628/ex-egypt-oil-minister-samih-fahmi-jailed-15-years