Egypt nabs renowned businessman for funding unlicensed excavation of antiquities

Egypt nabs renowned businessman for funding unlicensed excavation of antiquities

The Egyptian police arrested Tuesday businessman and ex-owner of Mehwar satellite channel Hassan Rateb on accusation of funding unlicensed excavation of antiquities, a crime amounting to life imprisonment.

Rateb has been named in an investigation of former lawmaker Alaa Hassanin who was also arrested last week and accused of leading a gang to dig for antiquities.

Hassanin reportedly confessed to a southern Cairo court that he received millions of Egyptian pounds from the 74-year old renowned businessman for unlicensed excavation of antiquities.

Egypt attaches hefty fines and tough prison sentences amounting to life imprisonment (25 years in prison) to stealing, unlicensed excavation, spoiling, and smuggling of antiquities.

Rateb, Ahram online reports, in 2017 officially accused Hassanin of defrauding him of $3 million in commercial transactions but later withdrew his complaint to the police after Hassanin seemingly returned the money.

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