Lebanese ‘Idol’ star’s murder : Millionaire could face death penalty

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The arrest of Hisham Talaat Mustapha, a leading Egyptian businessman and member of the country’s Upper House of Parliament, for his alleged involvement in the murder of a Lebanese singer in Dubai was the top story all week in local press.

The chairman of the Talaat Mustapha Group (TMG), one of Arab world’s largest property and real estate developers, was charged on Tuesday with ordering the brutal killing of Lebanese star Suzanne Tamim last month.

Mustapha is also a member of the Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party.

His arrest, Gamal Essam El Din wrote in the national Al Ahram newspaper, “further reinforces the stereotypical negative image of businessmen in the psyche of Egyptian society”.

The Egyptian tycoon could face the death penalty if convicted. He is currently being held in a Cairo prison awaiting trial.

Local newspapers reported that the prosecution believes Mustapha paid an Egyptian man, Mohsen El Sukkari, $2 million to murder Tamim. Allegedly, Mustapha paid for the assassin’s travel from England to the United Arab Emirates in order to carry out the crime.

TMG initially sank dramatically on the Egyptian Stock Exchange, The Daily News Egypt reported, but after the company removed Mustapha from his chairman post, putting his brother Tarek in charge, the stocks rebounded somewhat at the end of the week.

“News of the investigation has taken its toll on TMG’s stock as shares of the group skidded to an all-time low Tuesday on heavy selling pressure,” Egypt’s leading English language daily reported on Wednesday.

The TMG stock plunged 15.97 per cent to 5.21 Egyptian pounds, little less than one dollar, on Wednesday, a day after Mustapha was arrested.

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