Algeria Jails Kouninef Brothers in Corruption Scandal Linked to Bouteflika

An Algerian court has sentenced four members of a billionaire family to jail terms, ranging from 15 to 20 years.

Three brothers in the Kouninef family and their sister bagged their jailed terms for corruption linked to the era of the former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Three brothers – Reda, Noah-Tarek and Abdelkader-Karim Kouninef -received prison sentences of 16, 15 and 12 years respectively, while their sister, Souad, who has fled abroad, was sentenced to 20 years in absentia.

An international arrest warrant has been issued for the fleeing sister.

The Kouninef siblings had been found guilty earlier this month on charges including exerting undue influence and obtaining unfair advantages, money laundering, embezzlement of land and breaches of public works contracts.

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Their family owns KouGC Group, a firm specialising in civil engineering, hydraulics and construction.

The trial was the latest in a campaign targeting Bouteflika-era politicians and businessmen accused of corruption, in a bid to prove the current government’s commitment to reform.

The court also fined the brothers 8 million dinars each.

In the same case, a former manager of the KouGC group, Kaddour Ben Tahar was sentenced to eight years in prison and a fine of 8 million dinars.

In addition, the court of Sidi M’hamed ordered the seizure of all the property of the Kouninef brothers.

The KouGC company was also ordered to pay a fine of 32 million dinars.

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The three Kouninef brothers, Reda, Tarek and Karim who have been in detention for over a year, have 54 companies located in Algeria.

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