File- Antiquities excavated - Photo courtesy of Ministry of Antiquities
CAIRO - 23 September 2021:Egyptian businessman Hassan Rateb was re-detained for another 45 days pending investigation over funding a former MP in illegal excavation operations, as per an order issued by a southern Cairo court judge, on Thursday via a video conference.
Egypt’s General Prosecution has accused Rateb of funding former MP Alaa Hassanin for illegal digging for antiquities; its investigations revealed that Rateb, who was arrested late June, provided millions of Egyptian pounds to Hassanin and his brother to help them in the excavation.
The Egyptian Prosecution Public Prosecution early in July said the 227 artifacts, seized with an excavation gang believed to be led by former MP Hassanin, were confirmed to be antiquities.
A committee from the Supreme Council of Antiquities said all the seized antiquities date back to the Egyptian civilizations and belong to different ages, including the Prehistoric, Pharaonic, Greek, Roman and Islamic ages, according to the prosecution’s statement.
The antiquities also fall under the antiquity protection law, the committee affirmed.
The prosecution ordered the detention of Hassanin, former Al-Mihwar owner Hassan Rateb and 17 others pending investigation in the illegal excavation case.
Rateb is accused of funding the digging process that occurred in different areas in the republic.
Arresting Hassanin and an accompanying defendant in the case, the police found them possessing statues, stones and coins that are suspected of being antiquities, the prosecution said. It seized four deep digging sites, the prosecution said, noting that the antiquities committee confirmed that the digging work was made to excavate antiquities.
Hassanin denied leading the excavation gang with the aim of smuggling the antiquities outside the country or carrying out digging operations to excavate and sell antiquities.
The former MP denied connection with the seized objects and the other defendants.
The prosecution also called upon everyone to take information on the issue from the prosecution’s statements and refrain from other inaccurate sources to ensure the integrity of procedures.