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Madoff jailed in absentia

CAIRO, May 6 – A businessman known as "the Egyptian Madoff" was jailed in absentia for 15 years on Wednesday for swindling actresses, football stars and politicians out of more than 60 million dollars.

A Cairo court handed down the sentence to Nabil al-Bushi, held in Dubai since February pending trial on other fraud charges, for "swindling 350 million pounds (62 million dollars) from Egyptian citizens via his Optima Security Brokerage firm," a judicial official told AFP.

Bushi managed to con a star-studded list of more than 85 people.

He convinced investors to part with their cash by claiming to hold a senior position at the World Bank and to being a consultant on Egypt\’s investment policy for the next 20 years, earning him the nickname of "Egypt\’s Madoff."

Wall Street fraudster Bernard Madoff is to be sentenced in June after pleading guilty to a massive 50-billion-dollar pyramid fraud that took in thousands of clients, including many celebrities.

Bushi, whose accomplice Fekri Badreddine was in court and was jailed for three years, promised returns of up to 40 percent on investments in the London and New York stock exchanges between 2002 and 2008.

The official Al-Ahram daily newspaper reported that Bushi\’s funds in Egypt had been transferred mostly to Canadian banks, and said the assets of his two wives and children have been frozen.

Bushi and Badreddine were ordered to pay back the stolen money and pay fines of 10 million and 100,000 pounds respectively.

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