Egyptian to drop Palm Hills, Kingdom cases

An Egyptian citizen who tried to overturn state land sales to Palm Hills and Saudi firm Kingdom Holding has decided to withdraw the claims, a newspaper cited him on Monday as saying.

Hamdy Fakharany filed a string of challenges to state land sales under former President Hosni Mubarak, accusing officials of flouting rules that stipulate government land must be sold by public tender to ensure the best price.

The cases have rocked confidence in Egypt's once-booming real estate sector and sent shares tumbling in top developers such as Palm Hills and Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG), which has been caught up in a legal dispute since last year.

Fakharany said he was also thinking of dropping a challenge to a sale of land for Talaat Moustafa's landmark Madinaty project, the first of the disputes, newspaper al-Borsa said.

"Hamdy Fakharany said he intended to withdraw his claims to void the Palm Hills land deal and (Kingdom)," the paper said.

Fakharany "said he is studying a withdrawal of his claim against the Madinaty land owned by Talaat Moustafa Group", it said.

He had taken no formal steps in any of the cases as yet, the newspaper added.

Since Fakharany brought the case against TMG and Palm Hills, other copycat suits have been raised, including one challenging a land sale to Egyptian Resorts .

The challenge against the Kingdom Holding deal is for farmland for irrigation at Toshka in southern Egypt. 

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