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Algeria court issues heavy jail terms for tycoon family close to Bouteflika

Algerian policemen stand guard outside the court in the capital Algiers on 15 September 15, 2020, [AFP via Getty Images]
Algerian policemen stand guard outside the court in the capital Algiers on 15 September 15, 2020, [AFP via Getty Images]

An Algerian court has sentenced the family members of a businessman close to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to between 12 and 20 years in prison, in a case known to media as the “Kouninef family case”.

The Sidi M’hamed Court in Algiers decided on Wednesday to confiscate all financial assets owned by the Kouninef family.

The court sentenced Redha Kouninef to 16 years in prison with a fine of eight million Algerian dinars, while issuing a 15-year sentence and an eight million Algerian dinar fine to Tarik Kouninef. Similarly, Karim Abdelkader Kouninef received a 12-year sentence.

The court also issued a 20-year sentence and an eight million Algerian dinar fine to Souad Kouninef, while simultaneously issuing an arrest warrant against her. Other accomplices were also convicted.

The Kouninef siblings, who are the children of Mohamed Kouninef, a close friend of former President Bouteflika, hold Swiss nationality due to their mother’s nationality, while also holding Algerian citizenship.

The Kouninef family own the construction firm KouGC Group which Mohamed Kouninef established in 1970. Since Bouteflika came to power in 1999, the company has been able to sign extremely profitable deals with the state and receive bank loans without providing guarantees, exceeding the value of one billion dollars, according to estimates by the National Gendarmerie.

READ: Algeria accuses French media of tarnishing its image 

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