Cairo bars OCI chief, father from leaving country

March 04, 2013 - 1:22:07 am

CAIRO: Egyptian authorities have barred the chief executive of Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), one of the country’s biggest companies, from leaving the country as part of an investigation into tax evasion, state media said yesterday.

The public prosecutor ordered that OCI Chief Executive Officer Nassef Sawiris and his father Onsi Sawiris be barred from travel, the state news agency Mena said. 

The order from the public prosecutor is part of an investigation into accusations they evaded about 14bn Egyptian pounds ($2.1bn) of taxes during the sale of Orascom Building, an OCI subsidiary, to French firm Lafarge, Mena said. A banker and friend of the family said the men were out of the country. Under the order, they would be detained on arrival if they returned.  A lawyer for OCI, Hani Sarie Al Din, told state-owned newspaper Al Ahram he was “surprised” by the decision. 

Negotiations about the taxes from the deal were continuing, the paper’s website quoted him as saying. “There was nothing suggesting a dead end in the negotiations.” Last week an official said the government was holding talks with OCI to dissuade it from delisting from the local stock exchange. Reuters