Cairo: Egyptian Steel tycoon and a leading power broker Ahmed Ezz has been handed down a 10-year prison sentence and fined about USD 11 million by a criminal court here, in the first conviction of a crony of former President Hosni Mubarak.
   
A close aide of Mubarak's son Gamal, Ezz was convicted on corruption charges in a trial running parallel to that of fallen Egyptian head of state.
   
Among the wealthiest figures in Egypt at the apex of Mubarak's regime, Ezz was famous for his brash and domineering style, Italian tailored suits, multiple wives, the way he crooked his index finger in a gesture of command and his conviction was one of the most vociferous demands of the revolution.
   
The tycoon received his sentence on Thursday, dressed in prison whites and standing in a defendant's cage in the courtroom. His company's stock dropped in value by nearly 9 percent on the news.
   
The court also sentenced two more Mubarak-era figures, former minister of commerce Rashid Mohammed Rashid and deposed chairman of the country's Industrial Development Authority Amr Assal.
   
Rashid, once a face for reform and clean government, was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison and a USD 230 million fine for illegally helping Ezz obtain permits for his steel empire.
   
It was the third sentence in absentia issued against Rashid, for a total of 35 years in prison. He left the country before Mubarak's fall but has said he did nothing wrong. He is believed to be sheltering in Qatar, the pan-Arab news channel said.
   
Amr Assal was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a USD 11 million fine for conspiring with Ezz.
   
The sentences handed to steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz struck at the core of businessmen and officials who made fortunes under Mubarak's rule.
   
The penalties indicate what may await Gamal Mubarak and his brother, Alaa, both of whom are charged with graft and corruption.
   
In the early days of last winter's revolution, protesters turned their anger on Ezz, looting and burning one of his properties in Cairo.
   
Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the leader of the governing military council and Mubarak's former defence minister, is expected to testify at a closed session of the trial on September 24, when he will be asked to shed light on
Mubarak's role in the crackdown on protesters that left more than 800 dead in the final days of his rule.

(Agencies)