+ Reply to Thread
Page 2 of 56 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 12 52 ... LastLast
Results 8 to 14 of 391
  1. #8
    Guest 123 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    0

  2. #9
    Guest 123 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    0

  3. #10
    Guest 123 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    0
    Algiers, 8 Jan. (AKI) - The trial of 104 people allegedly implicated in the Khalifa corruption scandal was scheduled to open on Monday in Blida, 50 kilometres south-west of the capital Algiers. A three-year investigation into the business of Algerian tycoon Abdelmoumen Rafik Khalifa, who is believed to have fled to London in 2003 and will be tried in absentia, involved four ministers, several magistrates and top government officials. Khalifa, 38, faces charges of fraud and money laundering.

    The Khalifa business, which included a bank, an airline company, a luxury car rental firm, pharmaceuticals companies, and several satellite television channels, went bankrupt in April 2003.

    The trial opening on Monday will deal only with the El Khalifa Bank scandal, in which money deposited in savings accounts was allegedly used to finance the group's expansion. Four other cases, including those of Khalifa Airways, will reportedly be examined separately by the Blida court.

  4. #11
    Guest 123 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    0
    BLIDA, Algeria (Reuters) - A prominent British-based Algerian businessman went on trial in absentia on Monday on fraud charges arising from a 2003 business collapse widely seen as the north African country's worst financial scandal.

    Abdelmoumene Khalifa is the most prominent of 104 defendants in the long-awaited mass trial, which commentators expect to shed light on mismanagement in Algeria's banking sector.

    More than 90 of the defendants, who include former executives of his now defunct Khalifa Bank and former state officials, heeded a summons to attend the opening.

    Lawyers said the defendants who failed to attend included those such as Khalifa, long judged by the authorities to have absconded, and those whose absence was as yet unexplained.

    Khalifa has lived in Britain since 2003. Newspapers have reported him as denying any wrongdoing.

    Algeria has been seeking the deportation of Khalifa, who is now about 40, since judicial authorities in 2003 ordered the liquidation of his Khalifa Group, then the country's largest private business conglomerate.

    Algeria's ambassador to Britain Mohammed Saleh Dembri told state media at the weekend Khalifa could be deported to Algiers in coming weeks after both governments complete ratification of an extradition treaty signed in 2006.

    Khalifa's rapid ascent to business prominence once made him a hero and a source of hope for many unemployed Algerian youths. He led a jet-set lifestyle, throwing parties for celebrities and acquiring homes on the French Riviera.

    The 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.

    The group had employed an estimated 20,000 people.

    Billions of dinars had been placed in the Khalifa Bank by public and private enterprises, by nearly all public organisations 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 alleged was embezzlement by several Khalifa officials.

    The authorities took the decision to liquidate after three employees of the group were arrested trying to board a Paris-bound jet with suitcases stuffed with 2 million euros.

    The director of the Khalifa Bank died last year at a hospital in Algiers, where he went for medical treatment after being detained for months.

    The trial's first morning at the Blida criminal court was taken up with preliminary proceedings. The defendants have not yet been asked to plead. More than 200 witnesses are due to be called, including current Finance Minister Mourad Medelci.

    Algeria graft hearing tries banker in absentia

  5. #12
    Guest 123 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    0
    Blida, Algeria - - The trial of 104 people linked to Algeria's biggest publicised financial scandal opened here Monday without the main accused, who is in exile in Britain, and six other defendants on the run.

    Police security around the courthouse was tight for the start of the trial in Blida, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Algiers.

    Two defendants in hiding, including a former finance minister, said they would not appear in court, claiming in an email to AFP that the trial was a political one and a "travesty of justice".

    The court case concerns the disappearance of more than 3.2 billion dinars (3.4 million euros, 4.5 million dollars) from the accounts of the Khalifa Bank. The bank's parent group went bankrupt in 2003 as result of the scandal.

    Rafik Khalifa, owner of the Khalifa group and once a golden boy of the Algerian business world, is among the defendants but has been in London since 2003 and will be tried in absentia.

    An extradition accord between Britain and Algeria signed last July came too late for Khalifa to be sent back to Algiers.

    Former finance minister Abdennour Keramane and his brother Abdelouahab Keramane, a former governor of the central Bank of Algeria, sent AFP an email Monday saying they had "decided not to appear before the Blida court".

    "We are convinced the use of the Khalifa Bank affair to press charges against us is exclusively a matter of political considerations and we don't want to be associated with the travesty of justice being prepared for us," the email went on.

    In a telephone call to AFP, Abdennour Keramane said he was living in hiding abroad, without saying what country he was in. In all, 10 of the accused were not in court on Monday, seven of those, including Rafik Khalifa, on the run.

    There are about 150 lawyers for the defendants who face charges including fraud and embezzlement, conspiracy, forgery and corruption. Each faces a maximum 10 years in prison and a heavy fine.

    More than 300 witnesses are expected to be heard during the trial before Judge Fetiha Ibrahimi and two assistant judges. Lawyers said the first part of the trial would last several weeks.

    The Khalifa bank trial will be followed by others covering accusations of corruption and fraud at other parts of the Khalifa group, including Khalifa Airways and the K-TV television station.

    Rafik Khalifa, 40, a son of Ahmed Ben Bella, Algeria's first post-independence president***, built up a business empire employing about 20,000 people.

    Khalifa Bank, Algeria's biggest private bank with 7,000 workers, was the heart of the empire which at its height had a total annual turnover of about one billion dollars.

    The companies were involved in real estate, construction and car rental.

    About 60 defendants, including the managing director of the pharmaceutical firm Saidal, Ali Aoun, were not in custody, but others, among them the former coach of the national football team, Ighil Meziane, were detained shortly before the trial or have, in some cases, been held for more than two years.

    The tycoon owner used his wealth to court French film stars such as Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu, according to Algerian investigators.

    The scandal started in February, 2003 when three group managers were arrested at Algiers airport as they allegedly tried to leave with a case containing two million euros.

    The group was declared bankrupt in June, 2003. Several thousand small savers in Algeria and France suffered losses.

    Algeria's biggest bank scandal trial starts


    *** This is, of course, incorrect - Khalifa is the son of a former minister in the government of Algeria's first post-independence president Ahmed Ben Bella.

  6. #13
    Guest 123 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    0

  7. #14
    Guest 123 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts