UPDATE 1-Mubarak-era steel tycoon Ezz set to leave Egyptian jail

Thu Aug 7, 2014 1:11pm EDT

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CAIRO Aug 7 (Reuters) - An Egyptian steel tycoon and ally of former president Hosni Mubarak was expected to leave jail on Thursday after paying bail and fines in three corruption cases against him, security and judicial sources said.

The founder of Ezz Steel, Egypt's largest steel maker, was jailed six days after Mubarak stepped down in February 2011, and tried in one of a series of corruption cases against businessmen seen as embodying an era of crony capitalism.

He was sentenced in March 2013 to 37 years in prison for profiteering and squandering public funds. That ruling was overturned months later and a retrial began in April that has yet to reach a verdict.

Ezz, once a senior official in Mubarak's disbanded political party, is also on trial in two other corruption-related cases and could go back to jail if found guilty in those.

"He will leave Tora after finishing some procedures there and go to Dokki station, from where he will be allowed to go home," said Ali Dimirdashi, a top Cairo security official.

Ezz paid 11 million Egyptian pounds ($1.54 million) in fines on Thursday, having already covered a 152 million pound bail, the sources said. He still owes 89 million pounds in further fines.

Corruption thrived under Mubarak as politics stagnated, enriching a small number of his close associates at the expense of the masses.

Ezz was one of many close associates and relatives of Mubarak to face embezzlement charges after his overthrow, but many of the initial rulings have recently been overturned while jails fill up instead with the leading lights of the 2011 uprising against Mubarak.

Since the ousting of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi by then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last year, the star of Mubarak-era business executives seems to be rising once more.

Mubarak himself received a comparatively light three-year prison sentence in May for embezzling millions in public funds for lavish renovations to family property.

In contrast, courts have recommended mass death penalties for members of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood, and secular activists have received long jail sentences for taking part in small or non-violent protests. (1 US dollar = 7.1500 Egyptian pound) (Writing by Lin Noueihed and Maggie Fick; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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