Ahmed Ezz released pending retrial in steel licenses case

The Cairo Criminal Court released on Monday Mubarak-era business tycoon Ahmed Ezz after he filed a pleading saying that the legal time limit for his detention had expired.  He is awaiting a retrial over charges of acquiring illegal licenses for his steel factories.

The court postponed the retrial to 5 December.

Ezz was the Secretary of Organization at the dissolved National Democratic Party, which was led by former president Hosni Mubarak. He left his post during the January 2011 uprising that forced Mubarak to step down.

Last December, Ezz was granted a retrial by the Court of Cassation, which revoked an earlier sentence of 10 years for him and for former head of the Industrial Development Authority, Amr Assal.  The court also annulled a 15-year sentence for former industry minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid.

Ezz is facing charges of acquiring free licenses for the operation of his steel factories with the help of Rachid and Assal, in violation of laws which stipulate that licenses must be granted through open bids.

Ezz was acquitted in a separate case in July related to charges of monopolistic practices.

Several key figures from Mubarak’s regime, including Mubarak himself, his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, his former Shura Council Speaker Safwat al-Sharif, and his former prime minister Ahmed Nazif, have been either acquitted or released from custody and granted retrials in multiple cases that had charged them with abuse of power and illicit gains.

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