Egyptian steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz will have a new head of his defence team when his corruption trial restarts on Saturday, following the resignation of one of the country's most controversial lawyers Al Ahram online reported.
A report in Thursday's edition of the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper says that Farid El-Deeb is stepping down from Ezz's defence team. No reason was given for his decision.
El-Deeb also served as the head of legal defence team for Egypt's toppled president Hosni Mubarak, handed a life sentence in early June for "failing to prevent" the killing of protesters during the country's 18-day uprising.
Ezz, former chief whip of the now-dissolved National Democratic Party and already serving a prison sentence, is now standing trial accused of the illegal acquisition of a formerly state-owned steel company.
A brief hearing was held at Cairo's Criminal Court on Thursday before court was adjourned until this coming Saturday.
In October, Ezz was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined LE19.3 billion ($3.1bn) after being found guilty of money-laundering in a case also related to El-Dekheila.
It was Ezz's second such sentence. Last year, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison also on graft charges and fined, along with other former ministers and officials. He is already serving time for that conviction.
Ezz no longer serves on the board of any of the companies which bear his name.
On Wednesday, Egypt's Minister of Parliamentary and Legal Affairs said the government is opposed to any reconciliation with any business figures found guilty of corruption and connected to Mubarak's former regime.
Ezz Steel has a 55 per cent stake in EZDK, the largest steel producer in the Middle East.
It was previously known as Alexandria National Iron and Steel Company (ANISC) before Ezz, then a mid-rank steel manufacturer, was called in to bail-out the struggling publicly owned company in 1999.