Court sentences Rachid to 5 years in prison in absentia

The Cairo Criminal Court on Saturday sentenced former Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid to five years in prison and fined him LE9.5 million. Rachid was indicted on charges of seizing funds from the Exports Development Fund

In the trial's second session, Gameel Saeed, the suspect’s lawyer, pleaded guilty for his client.

According to investigations by the Public Funds Prosecution, the former minister approved the granting of funds from the Export Development Fund to companies in which he holds stocks, in violation of the law.

Saeed submitted to the court a cheque for LE9.5 million, dated 20 June, payable from the Exports Development Bank. He said this is the amount Rachid took from the Exports Development Fund.

The prosecution, meanwhile, rejected the lawyer's appearance without his client, who remains outside Egypt. Saeed called for the suspension of Rachid’s prison sentence, saying he would pay any fines imposed by the court. He said the defense should be allowed to plead the case in order for executive authorities to seek Rachid's extradition and have public funds restored to the state.

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