Egypt Watch

Juhayna Food Industries crippled over detention of Thabit family

Juhayna Food Industries said that it delayed sending its 2020 and 2021Q1 lists to the Egyptian Stock Exchange Market. In an official statement addressed to the stock exchange, the Egyptian milk food industries giant attributed this delay to the arrest of its owner, Safwan Thabit, and the CEO of the company, Seif Safwan Thabit.

The story started in 2015, when a judicial committee appointed by the government imposed a financial ban on the businessman Safwan Thabit over claims of links with the Muslim Brotherhood. In December 2021, the Egyptian authorities arrested Thabit accusing him of funding terrorism. Two months later, Thabit’s son, Seif, Juhayna’s CEO, was arrested too. Reports revealed that the detention of the Thabit family was not related to the declared charges, but rather to the failure of bargaining between Thabit and the so-called sovereign bodies in Egypt.

One of the sovereign bodies, the security and intelligence bodies that seized political power under Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, ordered Thabit to donate EGP 150 million to the government, but Thabit refused and said he would pay no more than EGP 50 million. The sovereign body was reported to have asked Thabit to abandon 40 per cent of Juhayna’s stocks to a company affiliated to that body, but Thabit refused even after the required share was reduced to 20 per cent. Juhayna’s market value is estimated at EGP 3 billion.

In May, Reuters reported complaints from Juhayna over the harassment of the company by the authorities through traffic measures around its factory to obstruct the traffic of goods to and from the factory. On Tuesday, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information issued a report over the targeting of businessmen by the Egyptian authorities in order to extort money.