Thursday, January 26, 2023

News of the week: The release of Thabets pending investigation

On Saturday, Egyptian authorities released famous Egyptian businessman Safwan Thabet and his son Seif Thabet pending investigations after their arrest in the Winter of 2020-21

The Thabets were arrested allegedly for joining a terrorist group aka the Muslim Brotherhood. Safwan Thabet was arrested in December 2020 while his son and Juhayna CEO Seif Thabet was arrested in February 2021.

Mariam Thabet with her father Safwan and her brother Seif Thabet 

The famous industrialist who founded Egypt’s biggest dairy and juice producer “Juhayna Food Industries” was accused along with his son of allegedly financing the MB. The Thabets till this moment deny those charges.

Despite not being a member nor his son, Safwan Thabet’s maternal grandfather was the Brotherhood’s second guide Hassan al-Houdaiby.

Thabet was well known for not being affiliated with the brotherhood and actually, he has been avoiding politics for decades and made it clear to the Mubarak regime that he was not affiliated with the brotherhood from near or far when he returned from Saudi Arabia to open Juhanya.

Already it was a wide rumour during the Mubarak that Safwan Thabet were Suzanne Thabet Mubarak’s cousin due to sharing their last name “Thabet”. Very few people then knew that he was the grandson of Hassan al-Houdaiby.

Strangely we found on Saturday, Pro-regime media figures like Mostafa Bakery who attacked Thabet and his son for allegedly being MB members are praising them as “patriotic businessmen” in some sad irony. It is just sad.

Other businessmen seemed to welcome the news above billionaire Naguib Sawiris.

It is not a big secret but the news of one of Egypt’s most famous and successful businessmen and industrialists is very good news for the Egyptian economy especially now.

The Thabets’ arrest was another blow to the Egyptian economy especially when it was covered in the World's No.1 economic newspaper giving other worrying details that make any businessman rethink twice before putting a penny in Egypt.

Financial Times got more power than conferences by the end of the day.

Already following their release on Saturday in less than 24 hours, Juhanya stock price soared by mid-day on Sunday to the level that the stock market had to suspend it after exceeding its daily limit.

Needless to say, there are many who wonder why the Thabets are released. FYI, their assets in Egypt are still confiscated.

The Thabets won huge sympathy after the death of Mrs Bahira El-Shawy, Safwan Thabet’s wife during his detention in March 2022.

El-Shawy lost her battle with Cancer after their arrest. Late Mrs Bahira became famous when she went to social media asking for the release of her husband and son in 2021. She was detained for interrogation and later released on a bail following the videos.

Many people do not know that Bahira El-Shawy was a philanthropist who played a role in supporting the famous Women's Cancer Hospital “Baheya” after surviving the first round of cancer.

People are actually happy for the Thabets and again it is rare that you find that support and sympathy genuinely from the businessmen class. The photos and videos with their family members after their release went viral in a positive way.

Of course, there is still that question of why they were released and whether there is a deal or not but either way it is good news.

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