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Egypt questions Mubarak on gas deal with Israel

JTA

April 25, 2011 | 10:22 am

Egyptian judicial authorities have extended deposed President Hosni Mubarak’s detention to question him regarding a natural gas deal with Egypt.

Egypt lost more than $714 million in the deal, Egypt’s prosecutor said in a statement, the New York Times reported.

The extension of Mubarak’s remand, announced April 22, came as former Egyptian oil minister, Samih Fahmy, and five other top officials were arrested and imprisoned prior to the start of an investigation into the deal.

Egypt supplies more than 40 percent of the gas that Israel needs to provide the country with electricity. Candidates to replace Mubarak have said they plan to renegotiate the contract with Israel.

Egypt’s new foreign minister said earlier this month that Egypt will demand a retroactive payment of the difference between the reduced prices it received and market value on the natural gas it purchased under Mubarak.

The pipeline between Egypt and Israel opened in 2008. Selling gas to Israel was unpopular on the Egyptian street from the time the pipeline opened.

The supply of Egyptian gas to Israel has not returned to full levels since terrorists in the Sinai tried to blow up the pipeline in February during the uprisings against Mubarak in Egypt.

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