Egyptian authorities on Thursday froze the assets of actor-rapper Mohamed Ramadan as legal proceedings continue in a lawsuit filed by a recently deceased pilot whose heirs are awaiting compensation.
Ramadan, who has shown a knack for stirring controversy, posted a video on Facebook on Thursday detailing a call he received from one of the largest banks in Egypt, which told him that authorities had frozen his assets.
“My money, my homes and the meat on my bones belong to the Egyptian government and people,” he said.
Ramadan was reportedly told that the bank wanted to save him the embarrassment of trying to use a credit card only to find out he has no accessible funds.
He boasts that he has as much money stashed in his home as he has in the bank.
He likens himself to “locals, peasants and Upper Egyptians”, who “store as much money in their homes as they do in the bank”.
Ramadan’s video was widely shared on social media as comments poured in from the public, who were somewhat misled into thinking that the assets freezing was more aggressive than it really was.
Egyptian judicial sources said the freezing of Ramadan’s assets was a routine procedure in legal cases where one party owes money to another.
A court ordered Ramadan in April of this year to pay 6 million Egyptian pounds ($382,400) in compensation to former air force pilot Ashraf Abul Yusr.
Abul Yusr filed a lawsuit against Ramadan because of 2019 incident when the rapper posted a video in the pilot’s seat of a private plane.
The stunt led to Abdul Al Yusr being handed a lifetime flying ban by aviation authorities, and he decided to sue.
The pair began a highly publicised feud that polarised Ramadan’s audience and put him at odds with other celebrities in Egypt.
“The state has not seized Ramadan’s assets in the bank," tweeted Tarek El Awady, a prominent Egyptian lawyer.
"His assets have been frozen as a legal procedure to implement the court’s ruling, which came out in favour of the pilot’s heirs.
"It is a well-known course of action in these cases.”
Legal experts further explained that the remainder of his assets should be unfrozen after the 6 million pounds is paid to the pilot’s family and the lawsuit is closed.
Some social media users are accusing Ramadan of grandstanding when he knows the matter is much less dramatic than his video purported.
Some have suggested it is a PR move to improve his public image after the pilot’s lawsuit made him appear to be an irresponsible and cruel person.
The pilot's portrayal of Ramadan on TV appearances was repeated by Amr Adib, Egypt's most-watched talk show host, who criticised Ramadan on his show El Hekaya.
Ramadan responded with attacks that led to a lawsuit from Adib, which has yet to be settled in court.