Former petroleum minister granted retrial over gas deal

The Court of Cassation has accepted an appeal for a retrial of former Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy, accepting his appeal for a retrial over charges of squandering public funds through the Egypt-Israel gas export deal.

Last June, a criminal court sentenced Fahmy to 15 years, while three officials at the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation were sentenced to seven years and the corporation's head, Ibrahim Saleh, received a three-year sentence. Meanwhile, Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company head Mohamed Ibrahim got 10 years, while fugitive businessman Hussein Salem was sentenced to 15 years in absentia.

All defendants were removed from their posts and fined a total of more than US$2.5 billion

The prosecution argued that the suspects ordered the gas exported to Israel at prices well below international standards and negotiated an inequitable contract for Egypt. The prosecution said the state had lost the equivalent of $714 million in the deal.

The 2005 agreement stipulated that Egypt would provide Israel with 1.7 billion cubic meters of gas annually for 15 years.

Gas supplies to Israel were halted after repeated attacks on pipes in Sinai by unknown actors since the 2011 uprising.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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