Former ‘Swede of the Year’ wanted by Interpol

Former 'Swede of the Year' wanted by Interpol
Egyptian-Swedish businessman Refaat el-Sayed, who was once named "Swede of the Year" before being jailed for fraud, is wanted by Interpol for suspected fraud in Egypt.

“I’m in shock,” el-Sayed, who is currently in Sweden, told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

He explained that he is wanted for fraud in Egypt for debts related to a Hebi Health Care, an Egyptian company of which he is the CEO.

“But I’m not personally responsible for the debts,” he told the paper.

“I’m totally baffled.”

The 66-year-old el-Sayed, who has both Swedish and Egyptian citizenship, rose to prominence in Sweden in the 1980s as the head of drug maker Fermenta, which saw its share price shoot up under el-Sayed’s leadership.

In 1985 he was named “Swede of the Year” before suffering a spectacular fall from grace after it was revealed he had lied about having a PhD in biochemistry and accountants uncovered irregularities in Fermenta’s books.

He was forced out as the company’s CEO and in 1989 was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of accounting fraud.

Despite his past business indiscretions, el-Sayed claimed there was little basis for his current Interpol listing, saying no warrant had been issued for his arrest.

“I don’t understand how they could put this out there,” he said.

“I’ve been in contact with the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) about this. They haven’t heard anything.”

An Interpol spokesperson refused to comment on the case, explaining that the agency’s information about el-Sayed come from the country which made the request.

TT/The Local/dl

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