December 30, 2010 / 6:36 PM / 8 years ago

Egypt sentences Ajwa chairman to jail in absentia

CAIRO, Dec 30 (Reuters) - An Egyptian court sentenced on Thursday the chairman of Ajwa Food Industries’ (AJWA.CA) to two years in jail after he was tried in absentia for forging documents and other financial crimes.

Chairman Mohamed Bin Issa Jaber Al Jaber, a Saudi national, was also fined 2 million Egyptian pounds ($344,600).

The company, which supplies and distributes food and commodities, confirmed the court verdict without giving details, adding the ruling would be appealed.

“I cannot comment on it (the court ruling),” Mohamed al-Sayed, Ajwa’s managing director and board member, told Reuters. “The ruling is specific to the company’s chairman, and it is a preliminary ruling that will be appealed.”

The prosecution had accused Jaber of forging documents and using his position to announce false information to boost Ajwa’s shares to more than 90 pounds. The shares closed at 3.43 pounds on Thursday, down 1.4 percent on the day.

The court judge did not list specific convictions when announcing the sentence.

“I bought the stock for 94 pounds at the time and sold it later at 7.25 pounds. I lost all my money and am in debt to others now,” Gamal Ashour, who filed the lawsuit in November 2009, told Reuters. ($1=5.804 Egyptian Pound) (Reporting by Ehab Farouk, Sarah Mikhail and Marwa Rashad; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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