Beauty and the Billionaire: Murder Suspect Speaks Out

Beauty and a billionaire killed Suzanne Tamim.

That's one take on the story of Tamim, a stunning and sultry Lebanese singer who was murdered in Dubai on July 28.

Now, one of Egypt's most powerful billionaires, a member of that country's political elite, stands accused of paying a man $2 million to kill his former flame. The case has captivated the Middle East, where the rich and well-connected often act as if they are above the law.

Tamim was a star on the rise when she was killed in her beachfront apartment. She had just moved to Dubai from London, fueled by a pop career that started on a TV talent show in Lebanon.

The billionaire, Hisham Talaat Mustafa, is the singer's old boyfriend. She broke up with him two years ago, but the tycoon reportedly never accepted that their relationship was finished.

Riyadh Alazzawi, Tamim's boyfriend at the time of her killing, told the Sunday Times of London that the singer told him Mustafa made her a deadly deal: marry me for $50 million, don't and I'll pay someone $1 million to have you killed.

Mustafa, whose trophy assets include the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo, ran one of Egypt's most prominent real estate companies. A close family friend of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and member of the Shura Council, Egypt's upper house of parliament, Mustafa now sits in jail awaiting trial on Oct. 18.

This week, Mustafa released an emotional letter from his prison cell to state-owned newspaper Akhbar el Youm. In it he declared his innocence and denounced his accusers.

"How could I possibly throw all my success, which is a source of pride to me and Egypt, behind my back and destroy myself, my company, with such a rash act? Does it make sense that any sensible person would commit such a heinous crime?" he wrote.

"They sharpened their knives and are eating my flesh and tearing me apart while I'm alive," Mustafa said of his accusers.

Representatives from Mustafa's company, Talaat Mustafa Group, have not returned calls from ABC News.

Old Billionaire Flame Denies Killing Pop Star

Mustafa's lawyer told Akhbar al Youm his client did not have any motive to kill Tamim.

"Hisham loved Suzanne," attorney Fareed Al Deeb said. "He would have married her except for his family's objection."

Mustafa is already married with three sons, and apparently, wanted to take Tamim as a second wife, as permitted under Islamic law.

The prosecution and Tamim's family say Mustafa's clear motive was unrequited love.

Alazzawi told the Sunday Times that the pair were trailed and threatened while they were living in London, just before her move to Dubai. Alazzawi said they complained to British police, providing them recordings of calls from the alleged killer.

Less than two weeks after Tamim relocated to her luxury waterfront apartment in Dubai, it became a crime scene. A cousin found her dead, stabbed repeatedly.

"The way in which the killing took place suggests a revenge motive, as nothing was taken from the apartment and nothing was disturbed," said Maj. Gen. Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, acting chief of the Dubai police.

Al Mazeina said the killer gained entry to Tamim's home by posing as a real estate agent from the company that sold her the apartment. After stabbing Tamim, the killer left behind bloody clothes and other evidence that led to his capture, Al Mazeina said.

The entire crime took just 12 minutes, he said.

Tamim's murder has made front page news throughout the Middle East, in part because of its regional ties -– an Egyptian mogul, a Lebanese singer, and a Dubai murder.

In any other case, a man of Mustafa's stature might have evaded being prosecuted. Tamim's supporters believe that pressure from the UAE and Lebanese governments make it more likely her killer will be brought to justice.

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