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Legal, Illegal in Wealth of Khairat Al Shater, Ahmed Ezz
Khairat Al Shater inherited from his father trade and a farming land and he traveled abroad to increase his wealth; he whenever he started a project, the government closed and froze his assets; half his age was spent behind bars; Ahmed Ezz was playing drums in a night club, appeared in group photos with Gamal Mubarak, gave donations to the Future Generation Foundation, monopolize
Sunday, March 11,2007 00:00
by M. Aldsoky Roshdy, Eldostoor Newspaper

Khairat Al Shater inherited from his father trade and a farming land and he traveled abroad to increase his wealth; he whenever he started a project, the government closed and froze his assets; half his age was spent behind bars; Ahmed Ezz was playing drums in a night club, appeared in group photos with Gamal Mubarak, gave donations to the Future Generation Foundation, monopolized steel business and his wealth reached 40 billion pounds ($7.01bln).

 

Khairat Al Shater, the strong businessman inside the Muslim Brotherhood group and the second deputy chairman of the group whose assets were frozen and whose companies were shut down, may be a stereotype of a Muslim Brotherhood businessman who is always hunted by the regime since he started his businesses; amid these illegal blows against him, he gained more profits although one of the charges the regime has been directing against him since 1992 can lead any merchant to bankruptcy.

Khairat Al Shater, as a political businessman who is always persecuted by the Egyptian regime, has someone similar to him but on the other extreme; while Al Shater is a successful businessman who gained a good reputation despite the government persecution, Ahmed Ezz is a model of a businessman who is supported by this government; Ezz is manipulating this government to have more profits at the expense of state-owned and low-income citizens.

We shall track their business and private lives of both figures to shed light on both of them and show the sharp paradox in the midst of this farce which we are witnessing in Egypt: Ahmed Ezz and Khairat Al Shater reflect these contradictory models; Khairat is nine years older than Ezz; both of them graduated from the Faculty of Engineering; both of them have leading positions in the main rival in the political scene. Khairat is the mastermind and main financier in the Muslim Brotherhood; Ahmed Ezz is a man of planning and a follower to Gamal Mubarak; so they are the best examples to reflect stereotypes in the their groups, Khairat as a Muslim Brotherhood businessman who is well-reputed and is always persecuted by the regime; and Ezz a businessman who is loyal to the regime and he gained profits due to this loyalty; his political and economic reputations are questioned.

 

 

While Khairat Al Shater has clear political, financial, personal and social biography, Ahmed Ezz- the steel magnate, has, on the contrary, a financial, social and personal biography which is like a maze, twisted ways and methods which are full of rumors and accusations directed to him officially inside the People’s Assembly (lower chamber of parliament).

Ezz Personal Background

Ahmed Ezz was born in January 1959 and joined the Cairo University and received a BA in engineering; he was well-known as a young romantic man who likes Western music and he excelled in playing on the drums; he started his life playing in a musical band in a famous hotel in Cairo in 1987, according to businessman Rami Lakah in a study that he prepared for the US Carnegie institute about the close circle of Gamal Mubarak, although Ahmed Ezz tried to deceive the public opinion and say that his family was rich and he inherited from it huge assets; however, MP Talaat Al Sadat said that the financial status of Ezz’s family was normal; it owned smithery workshops which developed to become a shop for selling steel; that trade wasn’t a sufficient startup to enable him to have a wealth that has reached nowadays about 40 billion pounds; Ahmed Ezz must have suffered a lot on the psychological level; this was clear when Talaat Al Sadat hinted, in House session last year, that he belongs to a modest family, which was denied by Ezz who said that his grandfathers are well-known for their influence and wealth; this response is more of a psychological problem inside Ahmed Ezz than a fact; the fact is that Ezz has now influential figures in his family except Sayyed Zaki, a previous People’s Assembly deputy speaker and head of the union of cooperative societies during the 1980s; this Sayyed Zaki was reportedly a relative to Ahmed Ezz.

 

In the early 1990, Ahmed Ezz’s economic activity took shape when he lodged a request to eng. Hasaballah Al Kafrawi, the former Minister of Reconstruction, to have a piece of land in the Sadat City to establish a factory for forming steel whose value was no more than 200 thousand pounds; until 1995, Ahmed Ezz didn’t have a prominent public profile; From this year, Ezz started his investments in A-Jawhara ceramics project; his photos started to appear for the first time on Al-Ahram newspaper pages specialized for economy and production; businessmen who seek more fame pay money to these pages which help them in their methods of deception; this was the beginning of his career, with a bribe.

Ezz Financial Profits

He appeared frequently and more naturally after the big areas allocated in these pages to speak about his investments; Ezz was searching at that time for a protection till he met Mubarak Jr. The 1996 MENA conference (Middle East and North Africa conference) witnessed the first public appearance of both Gamal Mubarak and Ezz with each other. People saw Ahmed Ezz sitting with a full smile beside Gamal Mubark, searching for cameras to satisfy his conceit and give him the opportunity to rise; the immediate payment is of paramount importance in the life of Ahmed Ezz; he paid to Al-Ahram specialized pages and he paid also indirectly to Gamal Mubarak; he realized that his duet photo with the son of the president has a price; in order to keep this relationship with Gamal, he was one of the first donors of the Future Generation Foundation from which Gamal Mubarak started his journey in the political arena; this was in 1998; from 1998 to 2000, Ahmed Ezz was reaping the fruit of reinforcing his relation with Gamal Mubarak; this period has witnessed a huge growth in the investments of a man who wasn’t publicly known; he started to monopolize the industry of ceramics with Abul Enein and the activities of his steel factory increased; he established a foreign trade company and bought, like the regime’s close circle of businessmen, areas of land in Suez and Toushka; then he became the secretary general of the Industries Federation; but the biggest hit was in 1999 where Ezz exploited the liquidity crisis facing the Alexandria national company for iron and steel (Dikheila) due to the dumping policies licensed by the government to the steel coming from Ukraine and the Eastern Bloc countries; Ezz offered to be a shareholder and he bought 534500 stocks from the Dekheila worker’s union to Ezz steel company; one month later, three millions stocks estimated up to 456 million pounds were issued to Ezz; in December 1999, Ezz was appointed a board director of Dekheila and monopolizer of producing Crude Steel which is related to the reinforced concrete; this post was suspicious because it took place because Ezz owns 27 % of Dekheila shares although he did not pay the price of the shares that he bought!!!.

Ezz Political Harvest

Ezz reaped the profits of what he paid in Gamal Mubarak’s FGF within only two years; after that, he started to reap political gains; out of a sudden, Ahmed Ezz became in February 2002 a member in the General Secretariat of the National Democratic Party among the first group of businessmen who decided to enter the field of politics with the help of Mubarak Jr. Ezz and Mubarak started to climb the political ladder; Ahmed Ezz preceded Gamal Mubarak and ran for 2005 elections; Minuf constituency was tailored for him because his factories are in the Sadat City and the votes of the workers are sufficient for making him succeed; this was what happened; suddenly, Ahmed Ezz became the head of the committee the planning and budget in the People’s Assembly and he became at the same time a member with Gamal Mubarak in the reform committee that was formed after the ruling NDP’s weak performance in the elections; in the NDP’s general conference in September 2002, Ahmed Ezz reloaded his games of deceit and bribery that open closed doors for him; he paid so much money and he immediately reaped the profits of his bribery; he became a member in the secretariat of policies committee; he wasn’t an ordinary member but he was a key leader, according to Dr. Osama Al-Ghazali Harb after he defected from the party; it was clear that Ezz has become Gamal Mubarak’s man; he gave him unexpectedly the chairmanship of the committee for preserving the farming lands and in 2003 this relationship took more official twists when Ahmed Ezz accompanied Gamal Mubarak during his visits to The United States.

Ezz was taking every year more power and influence; in 2004, he became the NDP secretary general of membership; this serious post was assumed by Kamal Al-Shazli; the benefits of the political cover for which Ezz paid so much money, began to appear; the People’s Assembly dealt with the request of information lodged by MP Abul Ezz Al Hariri against Ahmed Ezz with more bureaucracy until it was frozen.

In 2005, Ahmed Ezz used again his old game of immediate payments and he funded the president’s election campaign, and as usual, he that did not reaped benefits; he received the most important post in the party, the NDP Organization Secretary-General which was again the post of Kamal Al-Shazli. Ezz gained other profits form this; his monopoly of the steel and the rise of the price of a ton price helped him collect huge profits; also, the speculation in the stock exchange under a political cove, allowed him to cheat and gain 1200 million pounds in not less than three seconds after the price of Dekheila steel dropped without any reason from 1300 pounds to 1030, the moment in which Ezz bought about 4 millions shares.

This is the life that Ahmed Ezz started in the early 1990s and he has nowadays up to 40 billion pounds while the government hasn’t held him accountable about the sources of his profits?; it even gave him a legal and political cover most of the time to collect these profits.

Khairat Al Shater

On the other extreme, there is Khairat Al Shater who started his economic career in early 1980s and his wealth reached now about 40 million pounds while the country estimates it up to 15 million pounds only; however, the regime accuses him of money laundry and as if getting 15 million pounds is, according to the Egyptian government, needs more efforts than the effort of getting 40 billion pounds; away from the government calculations towards Khairat Al Shater who is reportedly scaring Mubarak’s government, he was born in Dakahlia in 1950 and he is married and has ten children and eight grandsons; the family of Khairat Al Shater is normal and firm; we have never heard any rumour that he is chasing a certain dancer or a beautiful artist while there are rumors published by newspapers about a relation between Ezz and Mervat Amin which may end with marriage.

Khairat Al Shater graduated from the Faculty of engineering and he received several other certificates that Ahmed Ezz can’t dream of and he doesn’t care for. Khairat Al- Shater received:

B.Sc. of Civil Engineering, Alexandria University,1974

Master Degree in Construction Management, Mansoura University,1980

B.A from  Anthropology Department, Faculty of Arts,  Ain  Shams University,2002

Islamic Studies diploma, Islamic Studies Institute, 1999

Diploma in Social Work and NGOs, Faculty of Economics and
Political Science, Cairo University, 2000

Diploma in Business Administration, Faculty of Commerce, Ain Shams University, 1998

Diploma in International Marketing, Faculty of Commerce, Helwan
University, 2000

While Ahmed Ezz was learning how to play the drums and was searching for a nightclub or five-star hotel to work within in a music band, Khairat Al Shater was, in his first year in the faculty of Engineering, leading students uprising in 1968 and he established a camp inside the faculty which was besieged by the security forces; he was encouraging and controlling the emotions of his friends although he was the youngest among them; when the siege was over, Khairat was sent to Al-Hadra prison and the government issued a decision of sending Khairat Al Shater to the army to do the military service although he was below the legal age; he returned in 1972 to lead the students again in a new student movement in 1973 and his colleagues called him "the leader".

Khairat Al Shater a diligent student who was well-reputed among his fellow students, with a low voice, not easily vexed, a typical Egyptian student whom every Egyptian family aspire to have; he was getting excellent grade every year in the power department and was contiuously persecuted due to his political struggle, and they are nowadays shutting down his companies and freezing his assets because of his political struggle’ he was blocked from working in the university because he was a student leader in the student movement; Al Shater returned to Al-Mansoura university which was newly established and needed professors and lecturers; he remained in the university until he became assistant professor in the Faculty of Engineering in 1981 when Al Sadat issued a decision of suspending his work inside the university as part of 1981 September decisions.

Khairat Al Shater traveled after that to the Gulf countries and went to London to complete his PhD and started his trade activities, as he inherited from his father a trade and farming lands because his father a famous merchant in Dakahlia.

Khairat Al Shater returned home and founded with Hassan Malek, who is currently detained with him, Salsabeal company which was one the first and biggest computer companies in Egypt in addition to several other projects like organizing and managing big exhibitions and giving loans for founding startups in installments and establishing a series of stores in various fields in addition to establishing a company for exporting raw materials abroad and working in the farming and animal field.

Due to the successes that Khairat Al Shater started to achieve, he was elected a member in the board of directors of the Islamic bank, Mohandes Bank board of directors and many other joint stock companies.

While Salsabeal project started to develop and Khairat Al Shater started to import the equipments necessary for manufacturing computers in Egypt and after equipments arrived in Alexandria port, he was arrested and his computers were taken and the company was shut down; 11 months later, he was acquitted but the company remained shutdown and he hasn’t restored his money.

Imagines it, that we could have in 1992 an Egyptian company that could make computer in Cairo; you can imagine Egypt’s losses and the job opportunities that the security service devastated and denying that Egypt could have been a pioneering country in that field in the Middle East region, but it is all the fault of……………………..??

To illustrate the difference between the Muslim Brotherhood figures and the regime vetted figures, Ahmed Ezz was taking every year a financial gain out of nothing or a political post without any qualifications; while Khairat Al Shater was received every year in prisons and his companies were shut down and his assets were frozen.

In 1995, Khairat Al Shater was arrested again and sentenced to five years in prison; he was released after this to resume his economic activity in the field of pharmaceuticals and exporting of textiles; he founded at that time companies like Hayat for pharmaceuticals, Al-Anwar for electric devices, Malek co., Rawag and others.

Nowadays, the same scenario has exactly been carried out: while Khairat Al Shater was buying a piece of land in the city of 6 October to establish a factory for manufacturing furniture on the Turkish style in order to provide job opportunities for thousands of Egyptian workers work; at that time, the Egyptian regime arrested him and froze his assets; Do you know how much money has the Egyptian regime frozen (stole) from Khairat Al Shater since 1992 until now? I think that they are huge sums of money and they may be the same money that the regime gives to Ahmed Ezz for money laundry as they are sourceless.

The is a huge difference between Ahmed Ezz, the regime vetted businessman and Khairat Al Shater, the Muslim Brotherhood businessman who is persecuted by the regime; while the projects of Khairat Al Shater are development and economic ones " computers and drugs and others ", projects that are useful for the country and provide job opportunities for a new industry, which is vital for Egypt, all Ahmed Ezz’s money is gained at the expense of the Egyptian people, through speculating in the stock exchange, monopolizing steel or dumping the market; while Khairat Al Shater was establishing his businesses north and south of the country which the government does not care for, and provides more job opportunities, Ahmed Ezz was contributing, through his monopoly, to the bankruptcy of more than 20 thousand contracting companies because of the steel prices which are determined by the top monopolizer; a big number of steel manufacturers were threatening with selling off and migrating because of Ahmed Ezz’s domination over the market.

While we haven’t heard and the government has never told us that Khairat Al Shater was indebted to it or that he evaded from paying taxes, we heard inside the parliament that Ahmed Ezz is indebted 500 million pounds to the Egyptian government; this was revealed in a request for information lodged by MP Hamdi Hassan last year in which he said also that Ahmed Ezz did not pay to the country for using the mining platform in the Dekheila Port; why does the country overlooks its right that Ahmed Ezz is exploiting while it steals and freezes the assets and money of Khairat Al Shater to punish him for his ideological affiliation.

Khairat Al Shater wasn’t accused of stealing or deceiving; there are numberless accusations of such a kind against Ahmed Ezz; the evidences of these accusations are with MPs like Mohamed Abdul Alim Dawoud and Saad Abboud and Muhammad Anwar As-Sadat but the People’s Assembly ignores them as a way of compliment to Ahmed Ezz; the most well-known of these was the request of information lodged by MP Talaat Al Sadat in which he spoke about the publicly known wealth of Ezz, and that it reached about 40 billion pounds and that Ezz took 15 thousand acres from the lands of the Gulf of Suez and that he cheated in the stock exchange.

Neither Ahmed Ezz nor his spokesmen responded to these accusations which were mentioned in the request of information; the only reply was sending Talaat Al Sadat to prison!!!!.

There is the famous request of information issued by MP Abul Ezz Al Hariri in which he gave figures from the Central Auditing Organization; he accused Ahmed Ezz of seizing Dekheila company although he owns only 30 % of its shares and that Ezz’s monopoly of steel led to wasting 32 billion pounds of state owned money within only four years.

If Khairat Al Shater is funding an outlawed group, according to government claims, Ahmed Ezz is giving money to MPs to rally them to attend the People’s Assembly sessions to extend the emergency law that cur the freedoms of the Egyptians.

While president Mubarak goes with a broad smile in front of photographers to ribbon-cutting ceremonies to open Ahmed Ezz’s projects which he establishes at the expense of poor citizens, he- president Mubarak- sends his security service, when Khairat Al Shater is going to open a new project, to arrest Khairat Al Shater and shut down his companies and freeze his assets; this took place on opening Salsabeal and the furniture factory.

Elections

Ahmed Ezz was the mastermind and leader of the NDP received a deathblow in front of Khairat Al Shater the mastermind of the Muslim Brotherhood when the group had a landslide victory and garnered 88 seats; but for the intervention of the security and changing the independents to NDP members, the NDP defeat would have been clearer; this means that Khairat Al Shater the man of a history of struggle, can defeat Ezz in an political showdown; Al Shater asked his sons to declare this when he was behind bars during his trial that he is ready to challenge any government official from the president to the lowest ranking minister in a live debate on the legal, economic and political issues and pledged to defeat them and expose their scandals if they dared and agreed.

The differences between Ezz and Al Shater are very clear; there is a huge gap between a businessman who is persecuted by the government because he is honorable and defends aan anti-government political ideology and a businessman whom the regime is helping to steal and loot public money only because he is funding the election campaigns of the president’s NDP and the election campaign of the president himself.

I hope this aforementioned comparison illustrates what is behind the scenes, illustrates who should be behind the bars and who should be honored; this is a part of the wrong situation Egypt is currently Egypt witnessing.

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