Saudis try to prevent Mubarak trial?
Hosni Mubarak has been hospitalised in Sharm El Sheikh following a minor heart attack suffered on Tuesday. On Wednesday it was announced the former Egyptian leader was detained.
This comes as 100,000 Egyptians on Friday marched on Tahrir square demanding that more be done to bring Mubarak to court for his notorious corruption. The timing of this medical deterioration will do nothing to dispel rumors across Egypt that the army is protecting Mubarak as a private deal between Field Marshal Tantawi (acting head of state) and former President Mubarak. It should be noted that his son, and once expected future president Gamal Mubarak, has been arrested and imprisoned.
In the meantime, reports of a certain other corruption within the army have circulated, this time with regards to Egypt’s post-revolution business interests. Saudi Arabia has been the only country to very publicly and substantially respond to Egypt’s calls for new foreign investment, setting up banks and businesses sinking billions of dollars into Egypt’s economy. However the new Saudi investment is perceived to come with strings attached; strings that make Egypt’s business community feel quite uneasy. It is reported that the Saudi government have thrown the Egyptian army (de facto rulers) a lifeline with its money on the condition that it keeps Mubarak away from courtrooms and jails. Many believe that the Saudi government is scared of fresh demonstrations in its cities if its people see a long time Arab dictator can be brought to justice.
Indeed the rift intensified on Tuesday with conflicting reports about Saudi Prince Bin Talal’s huge land purchase in Upper Egypt being frozen. The fertile land in Toshka amounts to 420 million square metres or one percent of Egypt total land and was bought by Bin Talal under Mubarak’s rule for $1,000,000. It now seems like he will give a large part of it away to the Egyptian youth however this decision is likely to be seen as a publicity stunt and will not improve the image of the worlds riches Arab amongst the Egyptian people. Certainly the news that Bin Talal offered the army $4 billion dollars to drop charges against Mubarak will win him no new friends in Egypt.
In the shadows of what has been quite a murky week in Egypt with fresh demonstrations in Tahrir Square, the release of some weakened post revolution economic figures and ongoing corruption scandals, the Egyptian stock market has taken a hit. The EGX 30 index fell 1.4% on Tuesday and stands at 5,202 whilst the EGX 70 dropped 2.5% and the EGX 90 shed 2%. (Source: yallafinance).