Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Issues Travel Ban For The Sawiris

The measure against the two business tycoons, Onsi and Nassef Sawiris, is part of the prosecution’s investigation into alleged tax evasion related to the Lafarge deal 5 years ago

Egypt’s prosecutor-general has issued an order to place a travel ban on Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) (OCIC.CA) founder Onsi Sawiris and its CEO Nassef Sawiris, an official judicial source told state-owned news agency MENA on Sunday.

According to the source, this move by the prosecution is part of an ongoing investigations of the two businessmen on charges of tax evasion in the sale of OCI’s cement unit Orascom Building Materials Holding to French cement Lafarge in 2008 for $15 billion.

Finance Minister El-Morsy Hegazy had lodged the complaint with the Public Prosecution, claiming that OCI owed the state EGP 14 billion in taxes on the profits it reaped from the deal at the time.

The legal advisor for OCI, Hani Sarie el-Din, told state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram he was “surprised” by the decision.

Negotiations about the taxes from the deal were continuing, the paper’s website quoted him as saying. “There was nothing suggesting a dead end in the negotiations.”

OCI is Egypt’s largest publically traded company, with a current market capitalization of EGP 54.1 billion. Accordingly, an official said last week the Egyptian government are holding negotiations to dissuade OCI from delisting from the Egyptian Exchange (EGX).