Egyptian Court Ratifies Tycoon Nassef Sawiris’ 3-Year Jail Sentence

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An Egyptian misdemeanour court ratified Sunday a court order sentencing billionaire construction tycoon Nassef Sawiris to three years in prison for refraining from paying due cheques to Egypt’s Tax Authority.

The court also fined Sawiris with 50 million Egyptian pounds, reported Reuters.

Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), run by Sawiris, had reached a settlement agreement with the Tax Authority last year regarding the sales of its cement sector in 2007. The company was asked to pay 7.1 billion Egyptian pounds in 10 installments, as per the agreement.

OCI only paid 2.5 billion Egyptian pounds, refraining from paying the remainder of the sum since the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, reported Reuters.

Sawiris had appealed the initial court verdict sentencing him to prison in July. He nevertheless failed to show up in court on Sunday, reported Reuters.

The prison sentence can now be carried out, a judicial source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. It can be halted if the defendant or his lawyer issue an appeal.

OCI sold its cement sector to French cement giant Lafarge for 12 billion U.S. dollars in 2007.

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