Egypt freezes assets in share trading inquiry -source

CAIRO, March 18 Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:38am GMT

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CAIRO, March 18 (Reuters) - Egypt has frozen the assets of 23 businessmen pending investigations into alleged stock market manipulation during the sale of Egypt's Al-Watany Bank to Kuwait's biggest lender in 2007, a source in the public prosecutor's office said on Monday.

Egyptian state media said the businessmen included five Saudis and two from the United Arab Emirates, as well as employees of a number of banks and the Egyptian stock exchange.

The source confirmed a report by state newspaper Al-Ahram which said on its website that the decision was taken, "pending investigations being conducted by the public prosecutor regarding them (the businessmen) in the case of manipulation of stock market funds, and participating in profiteering in regard to the sale of Al-Watany Bank of Egypt to National Bank of Kuwait."

NBK, Kuwait's biggest bank by assets, bought Al-Watany in 2007.

No one at NBK was immediately available for comment. (Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by David Stamp and Greg Mahlich)

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