Thursday, 5 May 2011

Sonatrach's former CEO Mohamed Meziane jailed

Sonatrach's former CEO, Mohamed Meziane, has been sentenced to two years in prison - one of which was suspended - and ordered to pay a fine of around $7,000, for embezzlement of public funds. Meziane was suspended from his job in January 2010 while being investigated for corruption.

Several other top Sonatrach officials were also investigated and later fired along with Meziane. Four other defendants in the case, including Abdelhafid Feghouli, Benamar Touati, Mekki Henni and Nechnech Tidjini, were also sentenced to one year in jail. All five men pleaded innocence.

Meziane was appointed in September 2003 to oversee the running of Algeria's biggest firm which employs 125,000 people and has reportedly made $9.2 billion profit in 2008 for an annual turnover of $80.8 billion.

The ruling came amid rising unrest over lack of progress with reforms as promised by Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Sources: WSJ, AFP, Bloomberg, Reuters

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

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