Egypt arrests Muslim Brotherhood member for trading foreign currency on black market

Saturday 21-01-2017 12:09 PM

Police man in front of the Interior Ministry headquarters in Cairo - REUTERS

CAIRO, Jan 21 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's interior ministry said on Friday that a Muslim Brotherhood member in Alexandria was arrested for trading foreign currency on the parallel market despite a central bank's decision to  suspend his foreign exchange company for a year.

In a statement, the ministry said that the defendant is involved in a case that involves a number of Muslim Brotherhood figures who were believed to have been plotting to smuggle foreign currency out of Egypt.

The case involves brotherhood member and businessman Hassan Malek, who was arrested among others in 2015 against the backdrop of "conspiring to harm the national economy through collecting foreign currency and smuggling it to further destabilize the price of the dollar," the ministry said at the time.

Over 2016, the CBE had accelerated a crackdown against black market traders, closing a large number of the countries’ foreign exchange offices, which it blames for growing pressure to devalue the currency.

Years of political turmoil that ensued the 2011 Uprising have taken a toll on Egypt's economy and contributed to a foreign currency crisis.

In November, the central bank floated the Egyptian pound, reducing its value by almost 50 percent against the dollar.

Months following the ouster of president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013, Egyptian authorities listed the group as a terrorist organisation and launched a crackdown on the group’s leaders, members and supporters. 

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