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European agency willing to support Algeria recover looted funds

March 15, 2023 at 9:47 am

Ms Salima Abdelhak, Ambassador of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, welcomed by Mr Ladislav Hamran, President of Eurojust, and Mr Virgil Constantin Ivan-Cucu, Team Leader of the EuroMed Justice project (right) [Eurojust]

The European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) yesterday announced that it is willing and committed to providing Algeria assistance to deal with files for the recovery of looted funds and assets abroad.

The statement was made during a visit made by the President of Eurojust, Ladislav Hamran, to Algiers, during which he met with the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Community Abroad, Ammar Blani, according to a statement issued by the ministry.

The statement said: “The Secretary-General of the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the European official and discussed cooperation in recovering funds and property that was smuggled in the past.”

It quoted Blani confirming that “the Algerian authorities wish to launch close cooperation with the agency, to benefit from its extensive expertise and distinguished experience in the field of freezing, confiscating and recovering funds and assets transferred abroad through illegal means.”

During the meeting, the statement explained, the Algerian official expressed “the desire of his country’s judicial authorities to strengthen relations and cooperation between them and the EU member countries.”

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For his part, Hamran confirmed Eurojust’s willingness to “cooperate with its counterparts in Algeria to deal with cases of recovering looted funds and assets,” according to the Algerian Foreign Ministry’s statement.

On Monday, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, confirmed, after his visit to Algeria and his meeting with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, that the two sides discussed the file of smuggled funds, and that the EU is ready to support Algeria in this regard.

There is no official estimate of the amount of money smuggled during the reign of the late Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who came to power in 1999 and resigned in 2019 under the pressure of popular anti-government protests that erupted in February of the same year.

However, the Algerian presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, Abdelkader Bengrina, said in a previous statement to Anadolu news agency that over $100 billion had been smuggled out of the country.