UPDATE 1-Egypt freezes Saudi Prince Alwaleed land

* Prosecutor says land sold was twice legal limit

* Says sale contract improperly exempted Alwaleed from taxes

* Assets of former Egypt agriculture minister also frozen

(Adds details of alleged violations)

CAIRO, April 10 (Reuters) – Egypt’s public prosecutors’
office said on Sunday it had frozen land in southern Egypt
controlled by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
because the original sale of the land violated the law.

The public prosecutor has been investigating business
transactions and the finances of officials under Hosni Mubarak
since mass protests forced him to resign as president on Feb.
11.

The land, owned by Alwaleed’s Kingdom Agricultural
Development Co. (KADCO), is part of the Toshka desert project to
pump water from Egypt’s Aswan High Dam reservoir and deliver it
via a 50 km (30 mile) canal to reclaimed agricultural land 60 km
from the Sudanese border.

KADCO, part of Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding Co., bought
100,000 feddans (420 million square metres) at Toshka in 1998,
soon after the project was begun.

“Investigations revealed that … the contract contained
unknown provisions that violated the law and gave the company
unjustified benefits,” the public prosecutor’s spokesman, Adel
al-Saeed, said in a written statement.

The spokesman said Alwaleed’s contract violated Egyptian law
because the area KADCO bought was twice the legal limit and
because it improperly exempted Alwaleed’s company from all taxes
and fees.

The contract was signed on the Egyptian side by former
Agriculture Minister Youssef Wali, and Saeed said on Sunday that
Wali’s assets had also been frozen.

The contract also granted outright ownership of the land
once the company completed payments, in violation of rules
stipulating that the land must be completely reclaimed and
planted within five years, Saeed said.
(Reporting by Patrick Werr and Sarah Mikhail, editing by Tim
Pearce)

UPDATE 1-Egypt freezes Saudi Prince Alwaleed land