Brotherhood businessman arrested after ‘plotting to smuggle foreign currency’ out of Egypt

Published October 25th, 2015 - 08:33 GMT

Egypt's ministry of interior said in a statement Friday that it had a warrant to arrest businessman Hassan Malek and four other members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood who were "plotting to smuggle foreign currency" out of Egypt.

Malek was arrested at his home in Cairo's fifth settlement on Thursday night.

On the Friday statement, the ministry said that the arrested Brotherhood leaders were "conspiring to harm the national economy through collecting foreign currency and smuggling it to further destabilize the price of the dollar."

The statement added that Malek and others were "involved in exploiting some foreign exchange companies owned by the Brotherhood to smuggle foreign currency abroad."

On October 18 Egypt's central bank depreciated the Egyptian pound by 10 piasters allowing it to drop from 7.83 to 7.93 Egyptian pounds to the dollar, in the second depreciation within one week, taking the currency's decline to the year to 11 percent. 

A decline in foreign reserves, which tumbled to $16.335 billion by the end of September, has placed pressures on Egypt's central bank and investment banks had projected that the dollar will be selling for 8.25 Egyptian pounds by the end of the year.

Amid this currency crisis on Wednesday, Hesham Ramez, the governor of the Central Bank of Egypt resigned one month before his term ends and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi appointed former head of Egypt's National Bank Tarek Amer.

Malek, who's son Omar is appealing a death sentence handed to him earlier this year, was one of 40 Brotherhood leaders brought to military trial under Mubarak in 2008 and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

He was in prison when Mubarak was removed following the January 2011 uprising, but was released from Tora prison one month after his ouster.

His assets were seized by the state In the aftermath of the military removal of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.


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