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Sawirises cleared

Nasser Sobhy

01 May 2013 1:00 pm

The prosecutor general, Talaat Abdallah has lifted the travel ban on business tycoons Nassef Sawiris, chairman of Orascom Construction (OC) and his father Onsi Sawiris who is former chairman of OC. The ban had been imposed on them last March

The prosecutor general, Talaat Abdallah has lifted the travel ban on business tycoons Nassef Sawiris, chairman of Orascom Construction (OC) and his father Onsi Sawiris who is former chairman of OC. The ban had been imposed on them last March, pending investigation into accusations that they had evaded about EGP14 billion (USD2.1 billion) in taxes on the sale of Orascom Building Materials Holding (OBMH), an OC subsidiary, to the French firm Lafarge.  
As the news circulated, OC shares fell to their lowest level for three months and the stock market lost EGP6.9 billion. 
OC had then issued a press release explaining that the Egyptian Tax Authority had demanded that the company should pay EGP4.7 billion in taxes on the sale of OBMH to Lafarge SA in 2007. Since a 2005 law stipulates that all capital gains resulting from the sale of shares listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange (EGX) are tax exempt, the sale of OBMH to Lafarge SA in 2007 was exempt of capital gains tax. The company filed an appeal with the Egyptian Tax Authority in January 2013 challenging the tax claim.
The travel ban was lifted on account of a recent agreement between OC and the tax authority, through which OC agreed to pay EGP7.1 billion, to be paid in instalments.
Watani International
1 May 3013


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