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Egyptians Face Trial on Israel Gas Deal

Service : Economy
TEHRAN, April 24 (ICANA) – Two Egyptian ex-energy ministers will face trial for selling natural gas to Israel at below-market rates, judicial sources have said.
Sunday, April 24, 2011 7:06:12 PM
Egyptians Face Trial on Israel Gas Deal

The Egyptian public prosecutor on Thursday issued the arrest warrants against former Energy Minister Sameh Fahmy and two of his predecessors over a controversial gas deal with Israel under the rule of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Sameh Fahmy and Mahmud Latif are accused of costing the state $714 million in lost revenues due to the deal, the sources said on Saturday.

Five oil ministry officials will also stand trial on the same charges, AFP reported.

The former ministers are accused of "exporting gas to Israel at a price lower than international market prices, harming public finances," the sources said.

The probe into the controversial deal has extended to ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, himself.

Four Israeli firms had signed trade agreements to import Egyptian natural gas under a 20-year contract.

The deals were repeatedly challenged in Egyptian courts as they were signed without a parliamentary consultation and approval.

Opposition groups have long complained that Egyptian gas was being sold to Israel at below-market rates.

Egyptian chief prosecutor said earlier that he possessed evidence that Mubarak and Fahmy had sold natural gas to the Israeli regime and several Western countries at a low price.

Egypt supplies 40 percent of Israel's natural gas demand.

In December, 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.

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