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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 August, 2004, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Fraud exposed - after 3,000 years
By Magdi Abdelhadi
BBC correspondent in Cairo

Temple at Luxor
Tomb raiders seem to have been at work right from the start
An Egyptian researcher says he has uncovered evidence of corruption and nepotism going back some 3,000 years.

A daily newspaper has published details of the study on its front page under the headline Thebesgate after the name of an ancient Egyptian city.

The paper says it is Egypt's oldest case of political corruption and official cover-up.

At issue was a plot to cover up the theft of gold and jewellery hidden in the tombs of the Pharaohs.

According to researcher Ahmad Saleh, whose work is quoted by the Al-Masri Al-Yaoum newspaper, senior officials involved in the looting were allowed to walk free while ordinary people were tried and punished.

His research is about the looting of the tomb of King Sobekemsaf, during the "New Kingdom" era.

The looters were caught and put on trial in the ancient city of Thebes, roughly the equivalent of modern-day Luxor.

But as it turned out that some senior officials were involved, the case was closed, in what appears to have been one of the first examples in history of an official cover-up.

It is a story which will have some resonance in modern Egypt, where many people often complain of what they say is rampant corruption in the country - though modern corruption usually has more to do with kickbacks and dubious contracting than tomb-robbing.

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17 Sep 02  |  Middle East
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26 Oct 03  |  Middle East

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