Algeria Sentences Ex-Sonatrach Head Kaddour to 15 years for Corruption

Algeria Sentences Ex-Sonatrach Head to 15 years for Corruption (News Central TV)

Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, the former CEO of Algeria‘s state-owned oil and gas company Sonatrach, was given a 15-year prison term on Tuesday for corruption in connection with the acquisition of an Italian refinery, according to the defense attorney.

Miloud Brahimi stated that Ould Kaddour “was sentenced to 15 years in prison.” The project to purchase the refinery was led by Ould Kaddour’s former assistant, Ahmed Mazighi, who received a seven-year prison term.

According to the attorney, the Algiers court condemned one former oil business CEO to three years in prison while freeing another.

They were charged in a corruption investigation involving Sonatrach’s 2018 acquisition of the Augusta refinery and other infrastructure in southern Italy from Esso Italy, an ExxonMobil affiliate in the United States.

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Although the transfer’s price was not disclosed, Algerian media reports that the oil group paid $720 million, which is a large sum for a 1950-era refinery of its age.

The prosecutor’s office estimates that Sonatrach spent a total of 2.1 billion dollars on the transaction, including 916 million dollars for the purchase of the refined oil and sizeable additional sums for remodeling costs.

In addition to “squandering public monies, abusing office, and conflict of interest,” the prosecution had asked for 18 years in prison for Ould Kaddour and ten years for Mazighi.

After being detained in the United Arab Emirates in accordance with an international arrest order issued by the Algerian judiciary, Ould Kaddour, a close friend of the late ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was extradited to Algeria in August 2021.

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Abdelaziz Bouteflika

After 20 years in power and being appointed head of Sonatrach in March 2017, Mr. Ould Kaddour was fired three weeks after Abdelaziz Bouteflika was overthrown in early April 2019. The Hirak forced him to step down.

Ould Kaddour formerly served as the CEO of the American oil services firm Halliburton as well as the Sonatrach subsidiary Brown and Root Condor (BRC), which specializes in oil engineering. After allegations of corruption in contracts secured illegally, BRC was shut down in 2007.

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