Mubarak’s sons got more than US$187 mln from Israeli gas deal, says paper

Kuwait–The two sons of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak received a hefty commission from Israel to back controversial natural gas exports to the Jewish state, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported Sunday, citing what it said were classified documents.

Al-Jarida daily said it obtained the documents, concerning Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, from a special department at the Egyptian interior ministry that was looking at the interests of the family of the former president toppled in a popular uprising last month.

Based on the documents, the paper said negotiations took place involving Israeli officials, former Egyptian oil minister Sameh Fahmi and Hussein Salem, a businessman close to the Mubarak family, in January 2005.

Gamal Mubarak initially demanded a 10 percent commission but eventually agreed to half of that while his elder brother and Salem settled for 2.5 percent each from the $2.5 billion deal signed in May 2005. The 7.5 percent of the deal is equivalent to US$187.5 million.  

Al-Jarida published photocopies of the alleged documents.

The deal provides for 1.7 billion cubic meters (59 billion cubic feet) of gas annually over 15 years to be sold by Israeli-Egyptian consortium East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) to the Israeli Electric Company (IEC).

Gas exports began flowing in February 2008 after completing a pipeline which was attacked on 5 February and exports halted.

Egypt supplies about 40 percent of Israel's natural gas which is used to produce electricity. In December, four Israeli firms signed 20-year contracts worth up to US$10 billion to import Egyptian gas.

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