Egypt confiscates shares of Juhayna chairman for alleged Brotherhood ties

Tuesday 01-03-2016 10:58 AM

Juhayna's Chairman Safwat Thabet. Photo credit: al-Shorouk

CAIRO, Feb. 24 (Aswat Masriya) - The committee tasked with managing the Muslim Brotherhood group's funds confiscated on Wednesday 7.204 per cent of Juhayna's shares, owned by businessman Safwan Thabet, for alleged Brotherhood ties.

The committee said that the company's chairman Thabet indirectly owns 7.204 per cent of its shares through a contribution of 14.2 per cent to Pharon Investment which holds, according to Juhayna's website, 52.22 per cent of Juhayna's shares.

Pharon Investment is an offshore company owned mostly by the Thabet family and is located in the British Virgin Islands, known to be a tax haven.

Earlier in August, the committee ordered the confiscation of Thabet's assets for alleged ties with the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. The move had no direct effect on Juhayna, since it is a joint stock company, according to the committee's chairman statements then.

Thabet's shares in Juhayna were frozen at the time, but this was only limited to his direct share in Juhayna's assets, which represented only 0.34 per cent. The freeze entailed that the EGX 30 stops trading on stocks owned by Thabet.

Founded in 1983, Juhayna Food Industries is considered Egypt's largest producer of juices and dairy products. It caters to markets across Africa and the Middle East, and it also sells to European and United States markets to a lesser extent.

Thabet has been Juhayna’s chairman of the board of directors and CEO since the company’s founding in 1983.

The committee to assess the Brotherhood's funds was formed after a decision by an urgent matters court in September 2013, which banned the Brotherhood. 

The ruling stipulates banning the activities of any association that is branched from the Brotherhood, that was founded by Brotherhood funds, or that receives any form of support from the Brotherhood. 

As of late January, the committee has confiscated the assets of 1,375 Brotherhood members since its formation, its chairman announced.

Egypt listed the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation in December 2013 and insists it is behind the wave of militancy which has targeted security personnel since July 2013.

The Brotherhood continuously denies the accusations.

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