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Egypt arrests Morsi's prime minister

Qandil arrested for not implementing court ruling to renationalise textile company sold off by Mubarak administration.

Last updated: 24 Dec 2013 20:50
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Morsi appointed Kandil in July 2012, after he won Egypt's first freely contested presidential election. [EPA]

Egyptian police have arrested the prime minister who served under the deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

Interior ministry confirmed on Tuesday that Hisham Qandil has been arrested for not carrying out a court ruling to nationalise a private company.

Last April, Kandil was sentenced  after he refused to implement a court ruling to renationalise a textile company sold off by the administration of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Judge Khaled Hassan said the prison sentence must be carried out and ordered Kandil's arrest.

Officials in the Kandil government said renationalising state enterprises was not straightforward and the company had been broken up since it was sold to the foreign investor.

Morsi appointed Kandil in July 2012, after the Muslim Brotherhood politician won Egypt's first freely contested presidential election.

Morsi was deposed by the army on July 3 after mass protests against his rule. He is in detention charged with crimes including inciting the killing of protesters and escaping from jail.

The sentence against Kandil related to a 2011 court ruling demanding the government repurchase textile company Tanta Flax and Oils from a Saudi Arabian investor who bought it in 2005.

Egyptian courts have issued at least 11 rulings since the revolution that toppled Mubarak ordering the state to reverse deals signed by the former president's administration.

The lawsuits have been brought by activists and lawyers who say companies were sold off too cheaply and were representative of corrupt business practices during the Mubarak era.

The subsequent rulings have plunged a number of foreign companies operating in Egypt into legal limbo, exposing the government to the risk of costly international arbitration that could scare off much-needed investment from abroad.

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