CAIRO, March 20 An Egyptian court overturned on
Wednesday a public prosecutor's decision to freeze the assets of
23 investors and officials, including several from the Gulf, who
are under investigation for alleged stock market manipulation.
The criminal court ruling was announced by Judge Assem Abdel
Hamid Nasr. Earlier this month, the public prosecutor's office
ordered the freeze on assets of the investors while it
investigated the 2007 sale of Egypt's Al-Watany Bank to National
Bank of Kuwait (NBK), an official in office said.
Egyptian state media said the investors included five Saudis
and two from the United Arab Emirates, as well as employees of a
number of banks and the Egyptian stock exchange.
The case was the latest in a series of high profile actions
against leading business figures by Egyptian authorities,
including tax investigations and travel bans.
These have shaken economic confidence which is already weak
due to Egypt's political and economic turmoil since the
overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak in 2001.
On Monday, a source at NBK, Kuwait's biggest lender, said
the bank had nothing to do with the matter. "All these
transactions took place before NBK acquired its stake in
Al-Watany Bank," said the source, adding that NBK had gone
through an auction process which included several other bidding