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Egyptian tycoon gets 15 years in pop star's murder

By the CNN Wire Staff
Hisham Talaat Moustafa, pictured in June 2009, was sentenced to 15 years for his part in the murder.
Hisham Talaat Moustafa, pictured in June 2009, was sentenced to 15 years for his part in the murder.
  • One of Egypt's richest and most powerful men has now been found guilty twice
  • He was sentenced to death after an earlier trial but got a retrial
  • The court found he paid another man $2 million to murder Susanne Tamim

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- An Egyptian billionaire was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his part in the murder of Lebanese pop singer Susanne Tamim in 2008, Egypt's Interior Ministry told CNN Tuesday.

The man who actually committed the murder got 28 years, the ministry's Alla Mahmoud said.

It was the second trial of Egyptian ruling party member Hisham Talaat Moustafa since Tamim's body was found in her apartment in Dubai in July 2008. She had been stabbed and her throat was slit.

Prosecutors alleged he paid the other man, Mohsen el Sukkary, $2 million to murder Tamim.

In a case that captivated Egypt and the region because of the fame of the victim and defendants, the men were eventually found guilty and given the death penalty under Egyptian law.

But nearly eight months after the trial, the country's Supreme Constitutional Court ordered the retrial of the two on procedural grounds.

Lawyers for the defendants had claimed the prosecution's evidence could have been fabricated or tampered with by authorities in Dubai and should not be used against them.

During the original trial, Moustafa's lawyer told CNN his client loved the singer but could not take Tamim as a second wife because his family objected.

Polygamy is legal in Egypt, and it's not unusual for men such as Moustafa, a married father of three, to take on additional wives.

Prosecutors argued that Tamim's death was a "means of taking revenge."

Although Tamim was killed in the United Arab Emirates, the Egyptian judiciary tried the case in Cairo because the accused were arrested in Egypt.

After Moustafa's arrest, Egyptian authorities indicted him, stripped him of his parliamentary immunity and jailed him pending trial.

He also resigned as chairman of Talaat Moustafa Group -- a conglomerate with construction and real estate arms that was founded by his father, Talaat Moustafa. Moustafa's brother, Tarek Talaat Moustafa, now chairs the company.

CNN's Housam Ahmed in Cairo and Caroline Faraj in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.