In a surprise move on Wednesday, attorney Farid al-Deeb dropped Ahmed Ezz as a client by sending one of his assistants to a Giza Criminal Court session to inform the court of his decision.
Deeb, who also represents former President Hosni Mubarak and his sons Alaa and Gamal, was scheduled to present Ezz’s defense Wednesday. The head of the court said that Deeb’s assistant delivered a note stating that he would not attend this or any subsequent court sessions because he has terminated his representation of Ezz.
Ezz, former Industry Minister Ibrahim Mohamedein and five others were referred to court in June 2011 on charges of profiteering and squandering around LE5 billion in public funds. The prosecution has demanded the maximum penalty for all defendants.
Mohamedein’s attorney Hegazy al-Wakil argued Wednesday that the case against his client is invalid and lacks evidence. He also claimed that the statute of limitations has ended, as 10 years have passed since Mohamedein's resignation from Dekheila Steel Company on 9 January 2000.
Investigations alleged that Mohamedein had enabled Ezz to seize shares at the formerly state-owned Ezz Dekheila Steel Company from 1999 to 2001. The prosecutors accuse Ezz of making illegal profits worth LE687.44 million from the shares, while making a further LE4.82 billion in illegal profits from 2001 to 2011.
Ezz was arrested on 24 February 2011 following Mubarak’s ouster. Ezz was a business tycoon and close associate of Gamal Mubarak.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm