Egypt Extends Businessman’s Detention to Fund Antique Digs – Middle East Monitor

Egypt yesterday extended the detention of prominent businessman Hassan Rateb for 45 days pending investigations into suspicions that he was funding illegal archaeological digs.

Prosecutors accuse Rateb of paying former MP Alaa Hassanein and his brother millions of Egyptian pounds to look for antiques.

When Hassanein was arrested in June, numerous statues, stones and coins that are believed to be ancient Egyptian antiquities were found in his possession. His brother is said to have paid for the equipment for the operation.

A committee of the Egyptian Supreme Council on Antiquities said the confiscated antiquities date from prehistoric, Pharaonic, Greek, Roman and Islamic periods, according to prosecutors.

Rateb owns a group of investments in the Northern Sinai Peninsula including Sinai University, Sinai White Cement Factory, Sama Sinai Investment Group and Sinai Development Foundation. However, according to official sources, he was arrested in June after refusing to sell Sinai University to the government.

A few days before his arrest, Rateb said he had “no intention of selling the university” and stressed that rumors about his plan to sell the university were “baseless”.

READ: Egyptian court extends detention of Aboul Fotouh, Ola Qaradawi

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