Egypt's top construction firm to pay $1 billion in tax evasion dispute

Published March 24th, 2013 - 01:00 GMT

Egypt’s biggest private construction firm Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) has initially agreed to pay the country’s tax authority (ETA) around LE7.1 billion ($1 billion) over a tax evasion dispute worth roughly $2 billion, finance minister Morsi El-Sayed Hegazi said in a conference on Sunday, Ahram Arabic news website reported.

A spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance, Mohamed El-Saqqa, confirmed the news to Ahram Online.

According to El-Saqqa, the ministry is currently setting the legal frame for the reconciliation with OCI.

OCI refused to comment on the minister’s statement, saying that it may comment later.

The tax dispute is attributed to OCI’s subsidiary sale to global group La Farge in 2007 worth a total of $12 billion.

Reconciliation comes following a war of words between the disputing parties. Osama Saleh the Egyptian investment minister is brokering the deal to solve the conflict.

Earlier this month, Egypt’s prosecutor-general, Talaat Ibrahim, ordered the formation of a technical committee tasked with looking into the tax dispute between OCI and ETA that resulted in a travel ban on OCI chairman and CEO Nassef Sawiris, and his father, former company chairman Onsi Sawiris.

OCI's share price rose by some 1.2 percent in Sunday's mid-trading.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Publishing House

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