Sunday, November 28

Naguib Sawiris .. the businessman and the endless controversy

From time to time, the Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris makes controversial statements, and these statements vary between art, politics, economics, and sometimes religion.

Sawiris’ last statements directed his arrows to the Egyptian government, criticizing its interference and the army’s companies in the private sector in a way that creates unfair competition between the two sectors.

Before that, the Egyptian billionaire entered the line, and clashed with the captain of musicians, Hani Shaker, expressing his anger at Shaker’s issuance of a decision to stop a number of popular singers from singing, and to withdraw their permits to practice the profession.

Birth and upbringing

– June 17, 1955: Naguib Onsi Sawiris was born in Sohag Governorate, Tahta Center, in Upper Egypt.

He is the son of Onsi Sawiris, the president and founder of the multi-activity Orascom Group, and the brother of Nassef and Samih Sawiris.

He received a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Technical Management from the Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland.

The technology sector..a turning point

1987: After returning from a study trip, he began his working life in Egypt by establishing a sector in his father’s company (Orascom) in the name of the technology sector at the agency of (HP) Computers.

He developed the company’s technology sector and joined the computer communications unit from (AT&T) in 1990 to complete the work system in this field.

His relationship with the company developed until he obtained the agency of (AT&T) for communications equipment in 1992.

1994: Established the first Internet company in Egypt (InTuch).

1996: Established the first satellite communications company in Egypt (ESC).

1997: His breakthrough in the mobile phone world was his alliance with Orange and Motorola by establishing Mobinil Communications, which acquired 70% of the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services in Egypt known as Mobinil. This was the second turning point in his progress in Communications.

1997: The Orascom Group Board of Directors, headed by Sawiris, decided to divide the group into separate companies: Orascom Telecom, Orascom Construction and Industry and its website, Orascom Hotels and Development, and Orascom Technology Systems.

January 31, 2007: He launched the “OnTV” channel and entered as a contributor to the independent newspaper “Al-Masry Al-Youm”.

October 2010: The Russian mobile phone company Vimpelcom and Weather Investment Group – owned by the family of Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris – reached a merger deal worth more than 6 billion dollars, resulting in Orascom Telecom, the fifth largest mobile company in the world.

2010: Naguib sold most of his shares in Orascom Telecom to the Russian group Vimpelcom.

The Internet was cut off from the January revolution

January 2011: Some believed that Sawiris colluded with the Mubarak regime against the Egyptian revolution when his mobile phone company (Mobinil) cut off communications from all of its customers on the “Friday of Rage” January 28 in an attempt to thwart the revolution.

– Sawiris participated in demonstrations in support of Mubarak and his survival, and appeared in recorded interviews on “Al-Mehwar”, (BBC) and (OnTV), and expressed his sympathy with Mubarak, saying that “the youth in the field do not express the Egyptian people, and I support Mubarak’s completion of his presidential term. “.

– After the success of the revolution and the fall of the Mubarak regime, Sawiris spoke on a number of satellite channels about the injustice he was subjected to during the Mubarak era, expressing his admiration for the youth of the revolution.

A few months after the outbreak of the revolution, the Sawiris family moved their families’ residency outside Egypt.

Free Egyptians Party

– April 3, 2011: Sawiris announced the establishment of the Free Egyptians Party with a liberal reference. The party ran the first legislative elections in its history in alliance with the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the Gathering, in what was known as the Egyptian Bloc alliance.

November 2011: In statements to a Canadian TV channel, he accused Islamic parties of receiving foreign funds, especially from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

2011: Parliamentary elections were held in 3 phases, starting on November 28, 2011 until January 11, 2012, and Sawiris’ coalition won 34 seats out of 498 seats (or 7%), of which the Free Egyptians Party won 15 seats.

2012: Sawiris announced that he had reached an agreement with France Telecom to sell most of his shares in Mobinil for mobile services, of which he no longer holds more than 5%.

“Mickey Mouse” and “Minnie” .. Islamic clothes

June 2011: A lawsuit and a storm of online protests against Sawiris after he posted pictures of the Walt Disney cartoon characters “Mickey Mouse” and “Minnie” wearing Islamic clothes.

Lawyers filed a lawsuit against Sawiris for “insulting Islam”, while calls appeared on Facebook and Twitter for a boycott of his mobile phone company “Mobinil”.

In front of these protests, the Egyptian billionaire apologized on Twitter, saying, “I apologize to those who did not take the picture as a joke. I considered it a funny picture and did not mean disrespect for anyone. Sorry.”

March 2012: An Egyptian court rejected a lawsuit against Sawiris accusing him of contempt of Islam, against the background of posting an image on a social network that imitated costumes symbolizing Islam.

June 2012: In the presidential elections, he announced his support for the candidate Ahmed Shafiq – one of the symbols of the Mubarak regime – against his rival, the late President Mohamed Morsi.

The Tax Authority demanded that Sawiris Economic Group pay 12 billion pounds in taxes owed to the state, but Sawiris refused to pay any amount.

Sawiris offered to pay only 4.7 billion pounds, then raised it to 6 billion, while taxes insisted that he pay 14 billion, so he raised his offer to 7 billion, and the negotiation ended with an agreement that he would pay only 7.2 billion pounds, of which 2.5 billion pounds would be paid. (cash) to the state’s public treasury, and he pledged to pay the rest over two years by checks, starting in June 2014.

December 2012: Sawiris sold the “ONTV” television network, which he had founded years ago in Egypt, to the French-Tunisian businessman Tarek Ben Ammar.

Tax evasion .. Return to Egypt

April 2013: Orascom, owned by the Sawiris family, announced the settlement of the tax dispute for the years of examination from 2007 to 2010, and they paid 7.1 billion pounds ($1.02 billion) to the tax authority.

April 2013: The Egyptian Attorney General, Counselor Talaat Abdullah, decided to remove the names of the Sawiris family from the lists of those banned from traveling and awaiting arrival.

May 2013: Sawiris returned to Cairo on a private plane from France with his family, consisting of 9 members, including his wife, father and children.

– July 10, 2013: He told the New York Times that he participated in financing and supporting the “Tamarod” movement that largely paved the way for the military coup against the late President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, 2013.

December 2013: Sawiris threatened to confront the opponents of the coup with violence if they resorted to violence.

Sawiris said that it is wrong to leave the army and police forces alone in the face of opponents of the coup, and continued, “We have not yet come out in demonstrations against the Brotherhood, and we can do that.”

April 2014: Sawiris announced his willingness to invest between one billion and two billion dollars in Telecom Italia if Telecom Italia, the largest shareholder in the Italian company, withdrew from it.

February 2015: Sawiris stated that he had agreed to buy a 53% stake in Euronews, a European TV channel, as part of a €35 million ($39 million) capital increase, joining the existing shareholders of 23 public broadcasters.

October 2015: Sawiris’ Party (Free Egyptians) participated in the parliamentary elections, and the party won 65 seats out of the total number of seats (555).

US Presidency.. Trump’s support

June 2016: Sawiris announced his support for the Republican candidate in the US presidential elections, Donald Trump.

Sawiris justified his position as settling accounts with the Democrats. He will not forget, according to him, the support of US President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, blaming them for what he called chaos within the Arab region.

– He accused the Egyptian regime of deliberately concealing the true percentage of Copts in Egypt, and of treating their numbers as one of the state’s top secrets, for fear of asking Copts for a share in senior positions.

Sawiris cited the presence of one Coptic minister in the current government, although their numbers exceed – in his opinion – 15 million, expressing his hope that the Egyptians will see a Christian prime minister.

April 2016: The deal that Sawiris proposed through his company, Orascom Communications and Media, to buy CI Capital and merge with Beltone, which he recently acquired, was nearing completion before Sawiris announced that there were efforts to thwart it.

Observers believe that there are fears in the Egyptian state that Sawiris, by merging the two financial entities, will control 30% of the Egyptian Stock Exchange execution market, especially with the tendency to offer stakes from companies and banks on the stock exchange for sale, and this reinforces that CI Capital is the second largest Investment bank in Egypt.

May 2016: Sawiris announced the sale of ONTV to the Egyptian Media Company, owned by businessman Ahmed Abu Hashima, who is close to the regime.

– Sawiris justified the decision to sell his failure to turn the channel into profitability, but some spoke about the existence of pressure from the authority that Sawiris was subjected to and eventually pushed him to this matter, and that he was promised facilities in return to complete his acquisition of “CI Capital”, the investment wing of the Commercial International Bank .

The year 2109: The Bloomberg Index ranked Naguib Sawiris, 64, ranked 340 in the world, with a fortune of about 5 billion and 80 million dollars. His company owns stakes in a gold exploration company, La Mancha Resources, and Naguib has investments in Orascom Telecom and Technology, which owns activities in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa.

April 2020: He stated that he is a supporter of the return to work immediately after the end of the curfew, warning that businessmen will have to reduce salaries and lay off workers, due to the halt in production.

October 2020: Sawiris opened a door to controversy on social media with a tweet in which he said that it was time to get rid of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and some saw that he incites sectarianism and calls for murder and coups.

– This tweet coincided with hypothetical campaigns against Turkey in Egypt and Gulf countries, calling for a boycott of Turkish goods, and coincided with the exchange of accusations between Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron, following Macron’s defense of what he considered freedom of expression by publishing cartoons that insult the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

January 2021: Sawiris tweeted about the electric train project in Egypt, inquiring about its route. The Egyptian Minister of Transport, Kamel Al-Wazir, replied and reassured him that the train would pass from Hurghada Governorate (in eastern Egypt and overlooking the Red Sea), where there are investments for Sawiris in the El Gouna region, which witnesses The annual El Gouna Film Festival, sponsored by Sawiris, always causes a stir.

positions and honors

President of Orascom Telecom.

President of Orascom Technology.

Chairman of Weather Investments.

– Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wind Communications.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mobinil.

– Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nile Sugar Company.

Member of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs.

Member of the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors of the Arab Thought Foundation.

Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab Anti-Discrimination Organization.

Founder of the Free Egyptians Party.

2007: He was awarded the French Legion of Honor with the rank of officer from French President Jacques Chirac.

2011: He was awarded the Italian Solidarity Star by the Rome government.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf awarded him the Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam Medal.

2012: He was awarded the French Legion of Honor with the rank of Commander from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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