AMSTERDAM, March 4 Orascom Construction has been
cleared by an Egyptian public prosecutor of all tax evasion
claims related to the sale of a building seven years ago to
French peer Lafarge in Egypt, Orascom's Dutch parent
OCI said on Tuesday.
Orascom, a subsidiary of chemicals and engineering company
OCI, asked the prosecutor to clear the company's name following
a tax dispute with the Egyptian government.
The move came despite a settlement deal with the Egyptian
authorities in April last year in which Orascom agreed to pay
7.1 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.02 billion) in instalments
without admitting wrongdoing.
After a four-month investigation, the prosecutor exonerated
Orascom of any wrongdoing and all tax evasion claims last month,
OCI said in a statement.
An Orascom official said the company, which suspended the
payment of the second instalment of its settlement, was now
considering its next step.
"The company is evaluating all its options," he said.
The official said a freeze on some "insignificant" Orascom
bank accounts in Egypt imposed by the country's tax authorities
after it delayed the second payment was lifted automatically
following the prosecutor's ruling.
($1 = 6.9606 Egyptian pounds)
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)