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.

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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.

Ahmed Ezz, a steel magnate and member of parliament from the ruling National Democratic Party, December 1, 2010. Credit: AP

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.

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