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

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid