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Algeria jails six for corruption linked to Sonatrach contracts

An Algeria criminal court sentenced six people to jail and sanctioned two companies for corruption connected to contracts with state-owned energy firm Sonatrach.

The defendants were charged with corruption offenses ranging from embezzling public funds and money laundering to inflating the price of contracts and accepting bribes.

According to Reuters, former Sonatrach upstream vice-president Belkacem Boumediene was sentenced last week to five years in prison.

Former former Sonatrach CEO Mohamed Meziane received a suspended five-year sentence and was fined about $18,600, the AFP said.

Boumediene’s lawyer told the AFP that his client intends to appeal the ruling.

The court also sentenced two of Meziane’s sons. Mohamed Reda Meziane received a six year prison term and Bachir Fawzi Meziane was sentenced to five years in prison.

Meghaoui Hashemi, the former CEO of Credit Populaire d’Algerie, was jailed five years on charges of money laundering. His son, Yazid Meghaoui, was sentenced to a six year prison term, the AFP said.

Mohamed Reda al-Ismail, chief of the Algerian-German firm Contel Funkwerk, was given a six-year prison term and his company was fined about $38,000, Reuters said.

Contel Funkwerk was also barred from bidding for contracts in Algeria for five years, the AFP said.

Saipem Contracting Algeria was fined $38,000.

Saipem told the AFP it will appeal the verdict. The company said it “firmly believes no price inflation above market rates occurred.”

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Nicolas Torres is a reporter for Petro Global News, where a version of this post first appeared.

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