Sawiris: Dealings with Palestinian officials ended years ago

Egyptian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris has denied any financial dealings with Mohamed Rashid, adviser to the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Sawiris claimed he had never dealt with Rashid in any personal capacity, but only in his role as the director of the Palestinian Investment Fund, which made five times more profits by entering into dealings with the Egyptian businessman’s company, Orascom.

“All this stopped years ago,” Sawiris said.

He also denied having any financial dealings with  Mohamed Dahlan, a former leading figure of Fatah. “There was nothing between us but friendship and mutual respect,” he said.

Press reports had said the Palestinian attorney general asked Sawiris to end all dealings with Rashid and Dahlan, as per order from the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Court.

However, Mohamed Omran, president of the Egyptian Stock Exchange, denied receiving requests from internal or external sources to freeze shares or stakes in companies owned by former Palestinian officials.

Omran told the state-run MENA news agency on Monday that the decision to freeze stocks and shares come from the public prosecutor, the Illicit Gains Authority, the Financial Supervisory Authority or the presidency.

“This happened with members of the former Libyan regime following a decision made by the United Nations,” he said.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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