Algerian tycoon sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment
The criminal court of Blida pronounced Thursday the maximum sentence of life imprisonment against the main defendant in Khalifa-bank case, Rafik Abdelmoumטne Khalifa. The verdict was rendered in absentia as the defendant has escaped to London.
According to APS, the court has also pronounced sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years of imprisonment against 10 other defendants who are also in escape: Ismail Krim, Salim Moulay Ali Bouabdellah, Mohamed Nanouche, Fouzi Baמchi, Ghazi Kebbache, Nadia Amirouchene, Sakina Taibi and e Abdelouahab, Abdennour and Yasmine Keramane.
Khalifa's Khalifa Group, assembled in a mere five years, included the bank, an airline, two television channels and companies operating in sectors such as car hire, construction, graphic design and catering. It employed about 20,000 people.
Billions of dinars were placed in the Khalifa Bank by nearly all public organizations and large Algerian companies and by thousands of ordinary private citizens attracted by generous savings rates.
Authorities estimate more than $1 billion was lost through what they allege was embezzlement by several Khalifa officials.
The authorities liquidated the bank in 2003 after three employees were arrested trying to board a Paris-bound jet with suitcases stuffed with 2 million euros.