World, Africa

Algeria detains Bouteflika-linked business magnates

Move comes shortly after army chief-of-staff pledges to crack down on corruption

Ali Abo Rezeg   | 22.04.2019
Algeria detains Bouteflika-linked business magnates FILE PHOTO


ALGIERS 

Authorities have detained four business tycoons close to recently-resigned President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, along with Algerian billionaire Issad Rebrab, on corruption charges, according to local media reports.

State television reported Monday that Algeria’s National Gendarmerie (which operates under the Defense Ministry) had detained four prominent Bouteflika-linked businessmen known locally as “the Coninav brothers”.

The four were reportedly detained for “allegedly misusing their influence and failing to fulfil their obligations as laid down in contracts concluded with the state”.

The authorities have also reportedly detained Rebrab, owner of Algeria’s Cevital Group, so he might answer allegations that he “made false statements, imported sub-standard equipment, and was exempted from paying custom fees”.

Known as Algeria’s richest man, Rebrab is currently worth some $3.8 billion, Forbes magazine reported in January.

Late last month, Ali Haddad, another prominent Algerian businessman, was similarly detained on corruption charges.

Haddad is a former head of Algeria’s Business Leaders Forum, which is composed largely of pro-Bouteflika businesspeople.

The latest spate of arrests comes only days after Ahmed Gaid Saleh, Algeria’s military chief-of-staff, pledged to crack down on government corruption.

Last Friday, Algerians demonstrated in Algiers -- for the ninth week in a row -- to demand investigations into all Bouteflika-era corruption cases.

The 82-year-old Bouteflika stepped down early this following weeks of popular protests against his rule.

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