EgyWatch – June 12, 2019

Egyptian authorities, on Tuesday, banned businessmen Salah Diab – owner of private newspaper Al Masry al Youm; Mahmoud el-Gammal – Gamal Mubarak’s father-in-law; and others over a land-squatting investigation. The General Prosecutor also imposed control over Diab’s properties.

Diab was previously arrested with his son Tawfeek in 2015 on the same charges and faced a brutal media campaign of defacement. Rumours spread about a potential political link to the case.

Al Masry al Youm faced political aggression after it published a headline during the 2018 Presidential elections titled: ‘The state mobilises ]people[ to elections’, which authorities considered a critical allusion against them.

For the last five years, prominent businessmen have been subjected to judicial investigations and trials on political grounds. In 2015, the government committee tasked to seize and manage assets with alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood bared businessman Safwan Thabet, owner of Juhayna Food Industries. Thabet was later placed on the terrorists list which includes famous Egyptian footballer Mohamed Aboutrika.

Two months ago, businessmen Hassan Malik and Abdel Rahman Saudi, amongst others, were sentenced to life imprisonment for charges of funding a terrorist group and harming national economy.

In its Global Wealth Migration Review 2019, New World Wealth, a global market research group, ranked Egypt amongst countries that experienced significant wealth outflows in 2018. Aggression against businessmen over their political ideologies may be one of the causes of businessmen migrating out of Egypt.