Egyptian tycoon spared the death penalty

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An Egyptian property tycoon accused of hiring a hit man to kill his pop star lover was spared the death penalty yesterday after a retrial reduced his sentence to 15 years in prison.

Hisham Talaat Moustafa, a prominent member of Egypt's ruling party, was found guilty of the murder of a Lebanese singer. But the lesser sentence is likely to provoke accusations of political influence.

Moustafa, a developer behind the luxury suburbs for the rich that now ring impoverished Cairo, was close to Gamal Mubarak, the powerful son of Egypt's President.