Egypt's ex-oil minister jailed for 15 years

A court has sentenced Egypt

Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, center, waves the Palestinian and Egyptian flags during celebrations of the victory of Mohammed Morsi in the Egyptian presidential elections, in Gaza City, Sunday, June 24, 2012. The Muslim Brotherhood victory in Egyptian presidential elections raises fears in Israel that the historic 1979 peace agreement with its southern neighbor is now in danger, a scenario that would have grave implications for regional security. But in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, ecstatic residents flock to the streets, fire guns into the air and distribute candies in celebration, hopeful that Mohammed Morsi's election will usher in a new era for the blockaded seaside territory. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

CAIRO (AP) — A court has sentenced Egypt's former oil minister and a fugitive businessman who was close to ousted leader Hosni Mubarak for 15 years after convicting them of corruption in a case involving natural gas exports to Israel.

Former oil minister Sameh Fahmy and businessman Hussein Salem were convicted of harming the country's interests by exporting natural gas to Israel at prices below world market levels. Salem is on the run and was tried in absentia.

Thursday's sentencing is the latest in a series of cases against former regime figures following Mubarak's ouster on Feb. 11, 2011.

Mubarak was acquitted of a similar charge but was later sentenced to life in prison for failing to prevent protesters' killings during the uprising.

Egypt and Israel are bound by a 1979 peace treaty.

Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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