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03.11.2020 Algeria

Algeria cuts jail term of business tycoon

By AFP
Jailed Algeria tycoon Ali Haddad was close to ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.  By RYAD KRAMDI (AFP/File)
LISTEN NOV 3, 2020
Jailed Algeria tycoon Ali Haddad was close to ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. By RYAD KRAMDI (AFP/File)

Algerian business tycoon Ali Haddad, an ally of ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, had his jail term on corruption charges cut from 18 to 12 years on Tuesday, national news agency APS said.

The prosecution, in an appeal hearing, had asked for his sentence, as well those of former premiers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, to be lengthened, but instead all three were reduced.

The former premiers' terms were trimmed from 12 to eight years, APS said.

Haddad's brothers Omar, Meziane, Sofiane and Mohamed, serving four-year sentences, were all acquitted.

Founder of construction firm ETRHB and former head of Algeria's main employers' organisation, Haddad was convicted on July 1 of illegally obtaining "privileges, advantages and public contracts", as well as conflict of interest and squandering public funds.

Seen as one of the main funders of Bouteflika's election campaigns, Haddad had already been sentenced on appeal at the end of March to four years in prison after another corruption trial.

Bouteflika was forced to resign in April last year after losing the backing of the army following mass street protests against his rule.

Since his fall, authorities have launched a string of graft investigations, which have also seen his powerful brother Said and two former intelligence chiefs jailed.

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