News / Middle East

Egypt Tries to Lure Back Exiled Businessmen

Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem is seen in this file photoEgyptian businessman Hussein Salem is seen in this file photo
x
Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem is seen in this file photo
Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem is seen in this file photo
Reuters
— Egypt's government on Wednesday allowed convicted businessmen who fled the country since a popular uprising to negotiate an end to corruption charges from abroad, an attempt to lure them home to help revive a stricken economy.

Numerous wealthy businessmen have left Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011 to avoid being jailed for corrupt dealings during the veteran leader's three decades in power.

With them went large sums of money that the government now needs desperately to shore up an economy shattered by two years of political turmoil and social unrest.

Several figures from the political and business elite with close ties to the Mubarak family have been tried and convicted in absentia of making private gain from the sale of public property or graft-tainted state contracts.

Among them were Hussein Salem, who was convicted in absentia in 2011 to seven years in jail and fined more than $4 billion for money laundering and profiteering.

The government said on Wednesday it had amended a law to offer arbitration via an intermediary in Egypt to investors targeted by criminal proceedings. The law had previously required the investor to attend arbitration in Egypt.

"It means that those with final court verdicts issued against them and have fled abroad can go through reconciliation and return the money... without having to stand in court or be put in jail," said Achraf Chazly, a corporate lawyer.

"This is driven by a desperate need for money... They want to encourage these people to return and re-invigorate the economy," he said.

A stand-off between President Mohamed Mursi's allies in the Muslim Brotherhood and their secular and liberal opponents has scotched hopes that a drought in investment will end soon.

The local currency has tumbled 8 percent against the dollar this year as Egypt's international reserves fell to $13.6 billion, less than the $15 billion needed to cover three months' worth of imports.

The reserves had stood at $36 billion on the eve of the uprising against Mubarak.

Cairo-based political analyst Elijah Zarwan said the government's attempt to entice back exiled businessmen was "growing out of perceived economic necessity, given the parlous state of the country's finances, and also the perceived political necessity - a fear that wealthy businessmen who are close to the old regime might foment problems at home."

Hassan Malek, chairman of the Egypt Business Development Association and a senior informal adviser to Mursi, told Reuters on Sunday he had been involved in efforts to persuade wealthy Egyptians to return and invest in the country, though he said court cases should be solved first.

Under the amendment agreed on Wednesday, reconciliation would lead to the cancellation of jail sentences and unlock the investors' frozen assets.

It added a "clause stipulating that in the case of a court verdict issued in absentia convicting [someone], it is possible to take measures to re-examine the case."

This would be at "the request of, and in the presence of, a special defender of the investor.'' The result of reconciliation would be "cancellation of the order to arrest and jail him, and ending the ban on dispensing and managing their assets, and dropping the criminal case for the investor.''

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid