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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Did Arab tycoon order murder of pop princess?

August 11, 2008 |  7:19 am

Tamim1

The connection between the killing of pop star Suzanne Tamim and a mogul of Egypt’s real estate became the talk of the town here in the Arab world over the last few days to the point of hurting share prices at Cairo’s stock market.

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The sordid tale began last weekend when Dubai’s police authorities revealed that an unidentified suspect in the killing of 31-year-old Tamim, who was found with her throat slit in her fancy apartment, was arrested in an unnamed Arab country.

Now reports are emerging that a powerful businessman ordered the death of his sultry, glamorous lover after their relationship went sour. 

This is what the last episodes of the brutal homicide of a famous Lebanese singer in Dubai late last month have suggested, based on Arab media reports.

Arab publications and satellite channels said that the suspected killer, who was apparently arrested at a Cairo luxury hotel, had confessed of receiving $2 million from a big-shot Egyptian businessman to kill Tamim.

Talaat The rumors, openly discussed on television, were that Egyptian tycoon Hisham Talaat Moustafa had ordered one of his bodyguards to eliminate Tamim and that he had fled Egypt.

The man is the chairman of one of Egypt’s biggest companies, Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG), which owns luxury hotels and resorts.

The allegations have caused a blow to the business group, lowering its stock trading by 14% on Sunday, the first business day of the Egyptian week. The businessman denied all the allegations and called for criminalizing rumormongers to “protect Egypt’s economy.”

Egyptian authorities prevented local publications from discussing the ongoing investigations. One issue of an opposition newspaper was pulled from newsstands on Sunday for alluding to a link between Moustafa and Tamim’s death.

The newspaper did not actually make mention of Moustafa, but it reported that after a legal fight between Tamim and her second husband, the Lebanese singer lived in Egypt like an “empress” under the protection of a prominent Egyptian figure with political and financial clout.

In details of the investigation revealed to the media by Dubai authorities, the suspect killed her in just 12 minutes.

The police officer, Maj. Gen. Khamis Mattar Mazeina, said:

“It was a semi-professional killing, but unfortunately for him he left a vital clue behind… The way in which the killing took place suggests a revenge motive, as nothing was taken from the apartment and nothing was disturbed.”

The killer reportedly tricked the Lebanese pop star into letting him into her apartment by making her believe he was a real estate agent from the same company that had recently sold her the apartment she was residing in. After killing her, he allegedly got rid of his clothes in the building and left the country within 90 minutes, authorities said.

-- Raed Rafei in Beirut

Photos: At top, Khalil, brother of slain Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim, and her father Abdelsattar carry her coffin during her funeral in Beirut on August 4 (European Pressphoto Agency/Wael Hamzeh). Below, Tamim, shown posing for a photo shoot in Egypt, was found dead in the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai on July 28 (STR/AFP/Getty Images). Bottom, Hisham Talaat Moustafa (Talaat Moustafa Group).

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