Wahba was notified on 8 August that the suit had been registered by the World Bank-affiliated International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The hotels case, lodged by Wena Hotelsof the UK, also went through the ICSID process (MEED 3:5:02).

Wahba and Delaware-based Champion Tradingset up a private cotton trading and ginning venture in Egypt in the mid 1990s, following the sector’s liberalisation. The venture – National Cotton Company (NCC)– quickly managed to secure a significant market share, but incurred heavy losses when the government barred it from storing its cotton inventories, and forced it to sell high quality long-staple cotton to local mills at prices more than 50 per cent lower than the world market price.

The Egyptian Court of Cassation in December 2000 ruled in favour of NCC, and recommended an award of £E 100 million ($22 million) in compensation. This was the maximum amount the court was entitled to award, and Wahba made clear at the time that he would seek additional sums through other legal remedies (MEED 15:12:00). No payment has been made pursuant to the Egyptian court’s ruling.