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Heavy sentences for several Algerian officials of the Bouteflika era




The Relizane assembly plant at the centre of the Sovac trial (photo: DR)
The Relizane assembly plant at the centre of the Sovac trial (photo: DR)
ALGERIA. A former prime minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, and several influential Algerian businessmen under the Bouteflika era were in the dock. All of them - seventeen defendants in total - were gathered in the Sovac trial, named after the car group that distributes the brands of the car manufacturer Volkswagen in Algeria. They were prosecuted by the court of Sidi M'hamed for corruption, money laundering and transfer abroad of capital from criminal earnings and influence peddling.
 
Ahmed Ouyahia received the most severe sentence on Wednesday 24 June 2020, with twelve years in prison and a fine of 2 million dinars (€1.38m). All his bank accounts were seized.
The CEO of the Sovac group, Mourad Oulmi, was sentenced to ten years in prison and a fine of 8 million dinars (€5.5m). His brother, Khider, was sentenced to 7 years and 8 million dinars. Mourad Oulmi's wife, Fathia, as well as former industry minister Abdeslam Bouchouareb and businessman Amine Djerbou, were sentenced to twenty years in prison. All three were tried in absentia and international arrest warrants were issued against them. Former Industry Minister Youcef Yousfi and Omar Boudhiab, CEO of CPA (Crédit populaire d'Algérie), will serve three years in prison and will have to pay the sum of 1 million dinars (€690K).
 
Sovac has been the official representative of Volkswagen in Algeria since 1999 and has had an exclusive dealership contract for Algeria since May 2003 for the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda and Porsche brands. The German manufacturer had suspended production at its vehicle assembly plant in Relizane (located 250 km southwest of Algiers and inaugurated in 2017), as well as deliveries to the site, which is at the centre of the legal case, after learning of the investigation conducted by the Algerian authorities in September 2019.

Frédéric Dubessy


Friday, June 26th 2020



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