Monday, January 30, 2023

Mansour meets the British Press over Russian connection

It seems that Mohamed Mansour is starting to know the meaning of being involved in politics in real democracy with transparency and accountability.

The British press is speaking that the man chosen by Conservative Party leader and current British PM Rishi Sunak and former Chairman Nadhim Zahawi as senior treasurer turned to own or co-own a subsidiary in Russia that is still active in the Russian oil and gas sector despite sanctions and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “The Mirror spoke about the matter too.”

Well the UK is not Egypt, and the Conservative Party with all its cons is not the National Democratic Party.

Mohamed Mansour
Mohamed Mansour, the British senior treasurer of the Conservative Party 

Last month, we know in Egypt from the British media that Sunak announced that Egyptian business tycoon Mohamed Mansour would be the senior treasurer of the Conservative Party in the UK. We knew back in Egypt that he had a US passport already, and that the British passport was new information.

According to the Guardian, the Conservative Party refused to comment on Mansour’s role stating that he was not “the party’s treasurer”, but sources told the famous newspaper that Mansour has actually a separate role as “the senior treasurer” and he is involved in fundraising in the run-up to the next general elections.

On the other hand, Mansour confirmed the news and issued a statement stating that it was a great honour and privilege to have been appointed as senior treasurer of the Conservative party and a member of the treasurer’s team of the party.

“The prime minister is making the hard choices that are necessary during a tough period for the country and, as a proud British citizen, I look forward to working with the team to support the party and the country.” He added.

Mohamed Mansour already donated to the Conservative Party GBP 500,000 “About LE 18.5 million”.

It hits a nerve indeed how he is supporting PM Sunak as a proud British citizen in “that tough period for the country” when Egypt is having one of real one of the worst economic crises since 1967.

Former Mubarak-era Minister Mohamed Mansour is not an Egyptian business tycoon now but rather A proud British citizen now.

I do not recall any official from Mohamed Mansour’s brother Yassin Mansour who is managing their family business on the matter in Egypt.

According to Forbes Middle East, Mohamed Mansour is Egypt’s third richest man after Nassef and Naguib Sawiris. Ironically Mohamed El-Fayed comes after him and then his brothers Youssef and Yassin Mansour.

It is ironic how Mansour got a British passport, unlike Mohamed El-Fayed.

In his official profile on the official website of Man Capital which he founded in London in 2010 “Yes, in 2010” is introduced as a long-term investor in the UK with no mention that he was born in Egypt.

It is mentioned that he served as a Minister of transportation during the time of Mubarak in Egypt from the year 2006-2009. Mansour resigned from his position in October 2009 following the deadly clash of the El-Ayyat train collision where at least 50 people were killed and 30 others were injured.

Not so surprisingly Mohamed Mansour just like the rest of the businessmen and tycoons of the Mubarak era had an offshore company registered in Panama according to the Panama documents. “His cousin and former Minister Mohamed El-Magraby had his offshore company too”

It is worth mentioning that the news of Mohamed Mansour becoming the Tories’ Senior Treasurer came in the same month Egyptians were surprised by another business family that moved abroad in another way.

I remember that news very well because it came surprisingly. The news came from the Egyptian Stock Market Exchange that Farida and Yasmine Mohamed Farid Khamis sold their shares in Oriental Weavers to a company called FYK Limited for LE 1.4 billion.

Farida and Yasmine, the duo are the daughters of business tycoon Mohamed Farid Khamis who founded Oriental Weavers, Egypt’s biggest carpets and rugs manufacturer. Yasmine is currently the chair of Oriental Weavers, and her sister is the deputy chairwoman.

Farida and Yasmine Khamis
Farida and Yasmine Khamis in their dad's factory in 2006 for Alamy photos 

It was at the same time we had these Gulf funds acquiring shares in Egyptian successful companies. Personally, I thought FYK was a Gulf company, but I was wrong because, in a couple of hours, more details emerged. It turned out that Farida and Yasmine did not really sell but rather transferred all their combined shares to a fund registered abroad carrying their initials “Farida and Yasmine Khamis”.

What the sisters have done many admired online and believed it was a way to protect themselves but it is not new or recent because it turned out that it is the latest trend in the Egyptian business world, especially the tycoon ones.

In September, a consortium of investors led by Mauritius-based- Expedition Investments acquired cheese maker Doumti. Among those investors are Doumti founders and owners, the Damati family.

What Mansour and the Khamises did some may interpret as a way to protect themselves and their wealth. Some even drew comparisons between what they had done to how the “rats left a sinking ship” on social media.

Personally, I think they are free in their choices but what really bothers me as an Egyptian is that Mansour or Khamis senior benefited from their positions in the National Democratic Party for decades and I know how they were okay with lots of wrongs and corruption in the country but in hard times they and their kids leave.

I totally understand in the case of Mansour whose family was already nationalized in 1965, it is safe to have a backup plan but still what happened in the Mubarak era from the corruption that actually is affecting now. 

Mansour donated GBP500,000 to the Tories at the same time Egypt needs to every single foreign dime to balance the Egyptian pound and yes I totally understand what is going on he donated that huge sum of money because he will get more, it is the same old game of business and politics. He won't get more from Egypt as it seems.

Now it does not take a genius but the news of Mohamed Mansour settling down in the UK and helping it in time of crisis as well as what the Khamis sisters have done actually are not incentives for businessmen to come and invest in Egypt for real.

That’s another reason why actually the Thabets’ release pending investigation last week was truly good news to investment and business as well as the economy in Egypt for real.

Aside note: Who could have thought that in the 21st century, the leading figures of the Tories that actually fund it and run it are “Brown people” from ex-British colonies whether India or Iraq or Egypt!! It is like irony inside irony when you think about it.

The big irony is that we are speaking about the Tories and their Brexit agenda and anti-refugees and migrants policies.

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