Israeli officials believed that Hussein Salem was still a major shareholder in Egyptian natural gas exporter East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), with a 28% stake, even though foreign media reported several months ago the he sold his stake in 2008.
Sources inform ''Globes'' that Salem (79), a close associate of former President Hosni Mubarak, sold his shares in EMG in a panic and resigned from all his positions in the company, after learning that Mubarak was terminally ill. He reportedly sold the shares at fire sale prices.
Salem originally owned 65% of EMG. In 2007, he sold 37% of the company to US billionaire Sam Zell and Thai energy giant PTT Pcl (Bangkok: PTT), for a profit of $500 million on his original investment of $95 million.
An examination by "Globes" found that this information was not known to Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) (TASE: ELEC.B22) when it signed a gas supply contract with EMG in 2009. The Israelis were also unaware of the nature of Salem's relations with top Egyptian officials.
In a rare interview with Egyptian daily "Al Ahram" from his home in exile in Spain, Salem said, "This is the time to reveal that I never signed the gas agreements with the Israelis." ,p>EMG shareholder Merhav Group, owned by Yosef Maiman, said in response, "We regret that "Globes" continues with its stories from the 1001 Nights, which have no basis in reality. The attempt by "Globes" to rely on reports in the Egyptian press proves the paper's lack of journalistic reliability."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 27, 2012
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012