The violence and popular wrath rumbling through Egypt are falling hard against Ahmed Ezz, a steel oligarch with a near-monopoly and a close friendship with Hosni Mubarak's son. Ezz's Cairo digs was torched three times, and popular resentment against Mubarak cronies is reaching critical mass—now Ezz finds his assets blocked, cronies seeking distance, and permission to travel abroad yanked. “Ahmed Ezz sucks the blood of the people,” one student protester told the New York Times yesterday.
Many believe that Ezz Steel's rise is directly traceable to Ezz's position as a member of parliament, ruling party honcho, and Mubarak confidante. Ethics and antitrust cases have previously gone nowhere against Ezz, even amid complaints that his grip drove up housing prices. But he might have had a hand in his own undoing: Ezz organized the ruling party's ruthless November campaign that crushed the opposition, placing even more of a bullseye on his chest. Says one member of the ruling party: "The stupid part is we had the opposition inside the Parliament under a covered roof. He took the opposition into the street.” (Read more Egypt stories.)