Egypt tycoon jailed 15yrs for murdering Lebanese singer

By Guyson Nanagayi – Cairo — AFP- An Egyptian tycoon Hisham Talaat Moustafa  has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for ordering the murder of popular Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim, and ex-lover, more than a year after he was sentenced to death, state television reported.

Hisham Talaat Moustafa, a senior member of Egypt’s ruling party and  his associate Mohsen) al-Sukkari  had been sentenced in May 2009 to hang for the July 2008 murder of Tamim in Dubai but, in March, an appeals court overturned the convictions on procedural grounds and ordered a retrial.

He was then  was sentenced to 15 years in prison and (his associate Mohsen) al-Sukkari to 25 years for the murder of Suzanne Tamim,” the report said.

Moustafa was an associate of President Hosni Mubarak’s son, Gamal, and sat on the ruling party’s policies committee.

At the first trial, he was accused of having paid Sukkari, an ex-policeman, $2m to cut Tamim’s throat in a luxury Dubai apartment.

The death sentence shocked Egypt, particularly since it targeted a prominent businessman who was close to Gamal Mubarak, 46, who is widely seen as succeeding his father in polls due next year.

The new verdict comes just days after the government said it accepted a court ruling scrapping a land deal with the Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG) – Egypt’s flagship real estate developers.

Sunday’s decision was taken after a court upheld a ruling which declared as illegal the purchase by TMG of desert land to build a new city because the property was not open to public auction.

The court ruling saw TMG shares dip last week before making a recovery, sparking fears that other huge real estate projects could face similar suits.

Tuesday’s verdict sent TMG shares up by more than 5%, the official MENA news agency reported.

In February 2009, Tamim’s family sued Moustafa and Sukkari for killing the woman, and asked for justice.

In May of this year, they dropped the suit, and a judicial official in Beirut said the family had said in a previous statement to the court that accusing Moustafa of “inciting the murder of Suzanne Tamim is an unfounded assumption”.

Moustafa, who is already married, is believed to have started an affair with Tamim after she asked him for help in divorcing her husband.

But according to court papers, she had moved to London before her death and was living with a kick-boxer.She became a celebrity as the winner of an Arabic TV talent show in the late 1990s.

Suzanne Tamim

Suzanne Tamim

Hisham Talaat Moustafa & Suzanne Tamim

Hisham Talaat Moustafa & Suzanne Tamim