Retrial Begins of 31 Egyptian Businessmen, Politicians
The retrial of 31 Egyptian businessmen and politicians, whose jail terms ordered last year were quashed on appeal, started Monday, in the country's biggest corruption scandal for two decades, said AFP.
Eighteen of the defendants, implicated in fraudulently obtaining around 470 million dollars in loans, turned up at the high state security court, all pleading 'not guilty', court sources told the agency.
The charges against them include "harming public funds."
A Cairo cassation court annulled their sentences in January after defense lawyers argued that police had pursued their clients without Central Bank approval, said reports.
Four members of parliament from President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party were among those sentenced last June by Egypt's high state security court for their role in the scam.
The trial had focused public attention on corruption in high places.
It was rare for its inclusion of sitting MPs, whose immunity parliament voted to waive before the trial.
The three main defendants, Alya al-Aiouti, 52, Hossameddin el-Manawi, 39, and Ashraf Labib Youssef, 52, were sentenced in their absence to 15 years in jail with hard labor.
Aiouti is the daughter of Eissa al-Aiouti, 87, chairman of Nile Bank, who received a 10-year sentence, as did her husband, Mahmoud Abdel-Fattah Azzam, 51, a businessman and MP.
Faisal Islamic Bank, Mohandes Bank, Suez Canal Bank and United Bank of Egypt, earlier known as Dakahleya Bank, were the other four banks involved.
Tawfiq Abdou Ismail, 71, a former tourism minister, is among the convicted MPs.
The investigation exposed a massive scam, tainting a broad section of the business community, from import-export firms to real estate.
The scandal broke out in early 1995 when Ayouti the father, Banque du Nil President filed a complaint against his daughter Aleya, accusing her of misappropriation of funds – Albawaba.com
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