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Egypt Ex-Oil Minister Fahmy Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

Sameh Fahmy, Egypt’s oil minister under the rule of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges related to gas exports to Israel, a Cairo criminal court said in a faxed statement today.

Businessman Hussein Salem was also sentenced to 15 years in jail on the same charges of selling gas to Israel at below-market prices, costing Egypt $715 million, according to the court’s statement.

Opponents of Mubarak’s administration criticised the gas deal before he was pushed from power in February 2011. Several lawsuits were filed against the supply deal and the government had said it was reviewing the terms of the contracts. It was subsequently scrapped by Egypt in April.

Salem, a close associate of Mubarak, was sentenced in absentia, while Fahmy is among the Mubarak-era ministers who have already been imprisoned. The two men, along with six other senior oil executives, were fined about $2.3 billion, according to the court. The others were sentenced to between three and 10 years in prison.

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