Court upholds acquittal of former petroleum minister over Israel gas deal

The Court of Cassation has upheld the acquittal of former Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy and five others on charges of squandering public money and profiteering in relation to gas exports to Israel.

The ruling is now final, meaning that Fahmy will not face any more trials or appeals in the case.

Fahmy was first arrested in April 2011, being convicted the following year and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The former minister was accused of helping arrange a 20-year deal with Israel whereby Egypt supplied gas at reduced rates, costing Egypt billions in lost revenue.

The deal was halted in 2012 after a series of explosions along the gas pipeline between the two nations.

In 2013, Fahmy was granted a retrial and released from prison. Then, in February 2015, he and five other leaders of the petroleum sector were cleared of all charges by Cairo Criminal Court.

The aquittal was later challenged by public prosecutor Hesham Barakat, who called on the Supreme Public Funds Prosecution to consider the reasons for the aquittal. However, Thursday's ruling confirms the aquittal.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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