Mubarak probed over gas price fixing

PressTV –  Sat Mar 5, 2011 3:34PM

Reports say Egypt’s ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his former petroleum minister are being investigated for selling artificially cheap gas to Israel.

This comes after chief prosecutor received evidence that Mubarak and Sameh Fahmy had sold natural gas to Israel and several Western countries for artificially low prices.

Fahmy has recently told investigators that he was just carrying out orders from Mubarak.

Chief prosecutor Abdel Magid Mahmud has estimated that the deals with Israel incurred as much as USD 500 million in losses, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

Egypt supplies 40 percent of Israel’s natural gas demand based on a deal reached between Cairo and Tel Aviv after the 1979 peace accord.

In December, Israel signed 20-year contracts with Egypt worth more than USD 10 billion (7.4 billion euros) — much cheaper than global prices — to import Egyptian natural gas.

Resumption of Egyptian natural gas supplies to Israel is still unclear weeks after an explosion on a gas pipeline in the Sinai Desert.

In a separate development, the trial of Egypt’s former interior minister Habib al-Adly has opened in Cairo. Adly is the first member of ousted Mubarak’s regime to stand trial.

He is facing charges of corruption and unlawful acquisition of public money.

Adly is also being investigated for ordering the shooting of protesters during clashes with security forces on January 28.

Authorities arrested Adly along with several former ministers and senior members of the Mubarak National Democratic party last month.

The developments come as popular revolutions continue to sweep US-backed autocratic regimes across the Middle East and North Africa.

JR/HGH/MMN

PressTV – Mubarak probed over gas price fixing.

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