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Authorities seize former Egyptian football player’s assets

Egyptian officials say former Al Ahly and national football team player Mohamed Aboutrika funded the Brotherhood through a travel company
Al Ahlay's Mohamed Aboutrika during a 2012 match against Japan's San Frecce Hiroshima in Toyota (AFP)

Egyptian authorities have confiscated the share certificates of popular former Egyptian football player Mohamed Aboutrika in a travel company he helped to establish in 2012.

Judicial officials said that the company, which is called Asshab Tours and offers international travel and packages within the country, was allegedly funding the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

The government declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group in December 2013 and said at the time that anyone who belonged to the group, financed or promoted its activities would be punished. 

The former player has not been known for publicly expressing his political opinions, although he did endorse Mohamed Morsi’s presidential election in 2012.

A government committee overseeing the management of funds seized from those associated with the group has sent Aboutrika's shares to the central bank so they can't be spent, Ezzat Khamis, the assistant attorney general and chairman of the committee told Egyptian daily Youm 7 on Friday

The committee seized only the shares in the company, not Aboutrika's personal assets, Khamis told Youm 7.

After the shares were seized, Aboutrika went to the Ministry of Justice to file a complaint, a judicial source told the Emirati Al Bayan websiteThe ministry reportedly told the former football player that the committee cannot submit any complaint regarding the confiscation of his shares to court until it has completed the confiscation process.

Aboutrika, who retired from football in 2013, used to play for the Cairo-based Al Ahly club and was much revered as a player for the Egyptian national football team.

In a response posted to both his Twitter and Facebook pages, the 36-year-old said on Thursday: “Confiscate the money or confiscate the money’s owner, I will not leave the country, and I will continue to work for its prosperity.”

The company tweeted on its Twitter page, “Asshab Tours has been confiscated by the Egyptian government which the chairman of board Captain Mohammad Aboutrika announced on his official account.” The tweet ended with the hashtag #Aboutrika_Red_Line.

The Muslim Brotherhood was blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the Egyptian government in December 2013. The leader, former president Morsi, was overthrown by the popularly backed military in the summer of the same year, just one year after Morsi’s election.

Since the military coup, authorities have cracked down on members of the group, arresting at least 20,000 people, most thought to be members or supporters of the group. Hundreds have been sentenced to death while others received long-term prison terms.

Middle East Eye contacted the Asshab Tours company and the Egyptian embassy in London on Friday, but no one was immediately available for comment.

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