The Cairo Criminal Court on Monday turned down an appeal from businessman Hassan Ratib against detaining him, pending further investigations into accusations of financing former MP Alaa Hassanein to illegally excavate for antiquities.
The court upheld an earlier decision by appellate judge in the South Cairo Court to renew the detention of Ratib pending investigations for more 45 days.
Preliminary investigations revealed Ratib’s involvement in illegal archaeological excavations with Hassanein, his brother, and others.
Ratib has reportedly funded these operations with dozens of millions. All the suspects are arrested and remanded in custody.
This was confirmed by the confessions of Hassanein’s brother that Ratib had paid millions of pounds to search for antiquities.
Hassanein and Ratib are accused of bringing nineteen people together to traffic in looted antiquities embezzled by funded excavations and excavations in separate areas throughout Egypt, to sell them inside the country and abroad.
Egyptian authorities announced the arrest of Hassanein and his gang on June 24 in possession of more than 200 artifacts, including three statues made of bronze, with one headless statue, and a small wooden statue.
The security services were able to seize two stones divided into two halves in the possession of Hassanein and the head of a clown statue from the Greek era and another sexual stone dating back to the same era, as well as 52 coins of different shapes, and three needles used in surgeries in the Islamic era.
Tools used in the excavation included five drills, 12 axes, three iron crunches, nine hammers, an electric generator and a large amount of ropes, among others.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm