A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, May 22, 2009

Talaat Mustafa Group: Investors Needn't Worry Though its Founder is Under Death Sentence

I haven't been posting on the soap opera of the trial for the murder of Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim on the orders of an Egyptian billionaire; the billionaire, Talaat Mustafa, and the hit man he paid to kill Tamim (said to have been an ex-lover) were sentenced to death in Egypt yesterday.

It's been big news in Lebanon, (where Tamim came from), in Dubai (where the killing occurred in her luxury apartment), and in Egypt (where the trial was held). The combination of sex, celebrity, money and murder made it a sort of Middle Eastern O.J. Simpson trial, only with the defendant found guilty.

The Talaat Mustafa Group (TMG), a huge real estate conglomerate through which Mustafa made his billions, doesn't want any stockholders to worry just because the company's founder and namesake is under a death sentence. A TMG official reassures investors:
Sawaftah said that TMG’s corporate structure prevents “the absence of one individual” from affecting its activity.
They might think about using the acronym more and the full name less.

One note you may detect in this Daily Star report from Beirut that isn't emphasized in the Egyptian covrage is that Mustafa is very active in the (ruling) National Democratic Party and is said to be close to Gamal Mubarak. Probably not anymore.