An Egyptian soldier climbs the stairs outside of Egypt's central bank. Shawn Baldwin / Bloomberg
An Egyptian soldier climbs the stairs outside of Egypt's central bank. Shawn Baldwin / Bloomberg

Crackdown on Egyptian business



Cairo // EFG-Hermes, the biggest publicly traded bank in Egypt, is the latest casualty of a crackdown on businessmen and companies in the country that have alleged links to the former Mubarak government.

Yesterday, Yasser El Mallawany, a co-chief executive of EFG-Hermes investment bank in Egypt, was prevented from flying abroad from Cairo International Airport.

There was no official reason given for the move, other than the need for Mr El Mallawany to help with unspecified investigations into bank business. In the past year, however, the bank has been scrutinised for its alleged association with former president Hosni Mubarak's younger son, Gamal, who owns indirectly 18 per cent of the investment bank's subsidiary EFG-Hermes Private Equity.

Mr El Mallawany told The National last night, however, that the bank has no relationship with the former president's son.

"Gamal's stake is indirect, through a fund management company called Bullion," he said.

"We have no direct relationship with him."

EFG-Hermes is not the first Egyptian company to face scrutiny.

Last year, a wave of travel bans was put in place as investigators probed corruption allegations against several business leaders and government officials after the popular uprising. The chairman of private-equity firm Citadel Capital, Ahmed Heikal, was ordered not to travel as investigations took place into Citadel relating Mr Heikal with former prime minister Atef Obeid over allegations of involvement in embezzlement of public money and profiteering.

Egypt's public prosecutor subsequently removed Mr Heikal's name from the list of people banned from travelling, Citadel said in July.

The central bank of Egypt has also had to fend off allegations it is holding billions of dollars in secret accounts in Mr Mubarak's name.

Last month, the central bank issued a statement denying local media reports that Mr Mubarak had put more than US$9 billion (Dh33.05bn) in three secret central bank accounts.

An official from the central auditing agency, which checks the government's accounts, told Egyptian media that $8.7bn was deposited in the first of Mr Mubarak's personal accounts in 1992. But the central bank, reiterating that all funds related to Mr Mubarak and his family have been frozen since February 28 last year by the order of the country's general prosecution, said in a statement that this money was originally deposited in a state account titled "Amounts Received from Arab States".

The bank also said the money was added to the international reserves balance, and was invested in deposits with foreign banks and in US treasury bills. With interest, the money grew to $8.82bn by December 31, and is still kept with the bank in the name of the state, the central bank said.

Meanwhile, Egypt has been scrutinising the operations of local and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and in December raided the offices of 17 NGOs and banned some foreign staff from leaving the country.

Sam LaHood, the son of the US transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, is among the Americans who have been referred for trial by Egyptian authorities after investigations into foreign funding of NGOs working in the country, according to a statement read by judge Ashraf El Ashmawy, Bloomberg News reported.

The younger LaHood is among more than 40 activists in Egypt accused of operating unlicensed NGOs and receiving illegal funding.

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GP3 qualifying, 10:15am

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Formula 1, first practice, 1pm

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Bio

Born in Dibba, Sharjah in 1972.
He is the eldest among 11 brothers and sisters.
He was educated in Sharjah schools and is a graduate of UAE University in Al Ain.
He has written poetry for 30 years and has had work published in local newspapers.
He likes all kinds of adventure movies that relate to his work.
His dream is a safe and preserved environment for all humankind. 
His favourite book is The Quran, and 'Maze of Innovation and Creativity', written by his brother.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Blah

Started: 2018

Founder: Aliyah Al Abbar and Hend Al Marri

Based: Dubai

Industry: Technology and talent management

Initial investment: Dh20,000

Investors: Self-funded

Total customers: 40

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

If you go

The flights
There are various ways of getting to the southern Serengeti in Tanzania from the UAE. The exact route and airstrip depends on your overall trip itinerary and which camp you’re staying at. 
Flydubai flies direct from Dubai to Kilimanjaro International Airport from Dh1,350 return, including taxes; this can be followed by a short flight from Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti with Coastal Aviation from about US$700 (Dh2,500) return, including taxes. Kenya Airways, Emirates and Etihad offer flights via Nairobi or Dar es Salaam.   

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

MATCH INFO

Tottenham Hotspur 1
Kane (50')

Newcastle United 0

'Of Love & War'
Lynsey Addario, Penguin Press

Milestones on the road to union

1970

October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.

1971

March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.

Avengers: Endgame

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Josh Brolin

4/5 stars 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Primera Liga fixtures (all times UAE: +4 GMT)

Friday
Real Sociedad v Villarreal (10.15pm)
Real Betis v Celta Vigo (midnight)
Saturday
Alaves v Barcelona (8.15pm)
Levante v Deportivo La Coruna (10.15pm)
Girona v Malaga (10.15pm)
Las Palmas v Atletico Madrid (12.15am)
Sunday
Espanyol v Leganes (8.15pm)
Eibar v Athletic Bilbao (8.15pm)
Getafe v Sevilla (10.15pm)
Real Madrid v Valencia (10.15pm)

How Beautiful this world is!
Grand slam winners since July 2003

Who has won major titles since Wimbledon 2003 when Roger Federer won his first grand slam

Roger Federer 19 (8 Wimbledon, 5 Australian Open, 5 US Open, 1 French Open)

Rafael Nadal 16 (10 French Open, 3 US Open, 2 Wimbledon, 1 Australian Open)

Novak Djokovic 12 (6 Australian Open, 3 Wimbledon, 2 US Open, 1 French Open)

Andy Murray 3 (2 Wimbledon, 1 US Open)

Stan Wawrinka 3 (1 Australian Open, 1 French Open, 1 US Open)

Andy Roddick 1 (1 US Open)

Gaston Gaudio 1 (1 French Open)

Marat Safin 1 (1 Australian Open)

Juan Martin del Potro 1 (1 US Open)

Marin Cilic 1 (1 US Open)

RESULT

Valencia 3

Kevin Gameiro 21', 51'

Ferran Torres 67'

Atlanta 4

Josip Llicic 3' (P), 43' (P), 71', 82'

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

The specs

Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8

Power: 611bhp

Torque: 620Nm

Transmission: seven-speed automatic

Price: upon application

On sale: now

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

The specs: 2019 Audi A8

Price From Dh390,000

Engine 3.0L V6 turbo

Gearbox Eight-speed automatic

Power 345hp @ 5,000rpm

Torque 500Nm @ 1,370rpm

Fuel economy, combined 7.5L / 100km


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