Egypt ex-minister sentenced to 15 years over Israel gas deal
An Egyptian court has sentenced the country’s former oil minister and a fugitive businessman to 15 years in prison each over selling natural gas to Israel at below-market rates.
The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced former oil minister, Sameh Fahmi, and fugitive businessman, Hussein Salem, to 15 years in prison each over the (Israel) gas deal,” a judicial source said on Thursday, AFP reported.
According to the source, five other former high-ranking oil and gas officials also received jail sentences ranging from three to 10 years on similar charges.
Salem, who fled to Spain after Egypt’s popular revolution in February 2011 that toppled his close friend and the country’s then dictator, Hosni Mubarak, was also sentenced in absentia in October 2011 to seven years in jail for profiteering.
Gas exports to Israel were launched in 2008 and came under heavy criticism at the time from Egypt’s then banned Muslim Brotherhood.
In December 2010, Israel signed a 20-year contract with Egypt worth more than $10 billion (7.4 billion euros) — much cheaper than global prices — to import Egyptian natural gas.
Egypt accounts for roughly 40 percent of Israel’s gas supplies.