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EGYPT: Murder, accusations and an angry billionaire

September 21, 2008 | 10:55 am

Tamim4

In a move to counter the barrage of media coverage of his case, Egyptian businessman Hisham Talaat Mustafa recently wrote a letter to a newspaper denying that he ordered the slaying of a pop diva and dismissing allegations against him as the work of jealous foes.

Hisham_talaat_mostafa_3_2“I did not know that success brings enemies,” read the letter. “I am sure that the tide will turn against those who envy me and that the light of truth will rise to expose their lies and everybody will know that these allegations were too trivial and cannot destroy or shake the pyramids that I built for the Egyptian economy."

In his piece published in the weekend edition of Akhbar El-Youm, the real estate mogul and member of Parliament sought to restore the image of a successful, pious and benevolent businessman that was severely shaken by his implication in the murder of Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim in the United Arab Emirates in late July.

“I keep asking myself every moment in my cell: Why is this happening to me? Why am I facing all this distortion and destruction and lies that nobody faced before? Why is this happening to me while everyone knows who I am and how I am disciplined, serious and committed to my faith and my duties towards God?” added the letter.

The arrest last month of business tycoon Mustafa, who used to enjoy close ties with President Hosni Mubarak’s family, took many observers by surprise. Mustafa is expected to stand trial next month on charges of ordering the killing of the singer, who was allegedly his former lover. The case has been making front-page news and a provocative source of online gossip since August.

“Would any rational person commit such an infamous crime?” asked Mustafa. “Is it possible for me to act that unwisely after all the success I achieved? Would I act this way after having created an international entity which has become is a source of pride for me and Egypt? Did anyone ask himself this question?”   

— Noha El-Hennawy, in Cairo

Top photo: Suzanne Tamim. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Lower photo: Hisham Talaat Mustafa. Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images

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