Egypt Bans Ex-officials From Leaving Country, Freezes Bank Accounts

Egyptian Attorney General takes measures against several senior businessmen and political figures amid massive protests charging the government with corruption.

Former Egyptian minister of trade and industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid is banned from leaving the country, the attorney-general announced Friday as hundreds of thousands of citizens continued to take to the streets demonstrating their demand for the immediate departure of President Hosni Mubarak.

Rashid, a businessman who served as minister until last week, also had his bank accounts frozen. When in office, he was largely responsible for public-private partnerships, internal commerce and international trade agreements.

egypt - AP - December 1 2010

The UN estimates 300 people have died in the unrest which was inspired in part by protests in Tunisia which forced Tunisian strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee last month and which have since spread to other parts of the Middle East.

The announcement came a day after travel bans and asset freezes were also slapped on several other senior businessmen and former ministers - including Ahmed Ezz, a steel magnate and member of parliament from the ruling National Democratic Party and Habib el-Adly, the much-despised former interior minister.

The Youm7 news magazine reported that el-Adly was expected to face an emergency state security court on charges of treason and causing a security vacuum, following police clashes with anti-government protesters last Friday.

Embattled President Hosni Mubarak sacked his cabinet last week, amid growing unrest, and then reappointed about two-thirds of ministers back to their posts several days later.