Justice: Verdict of former Energy Minister Chakib Khelil pronounced

ALGIERS- The judge of the economic and financial criminal pole of the tribunal of Sidi M’hamed (Algiers) pronounced, on Monday, a sentence of 20 years in prison against the former Minister of Energy Chakib Khelil, alongside a fine of 2 million DA, with the maintenance of the international arrest warrant issued against him in September 2019, in accordance with the requisitions of the public prosecutor.

The former CEO of the Sonatrach group, Mohamed Meziane, received a 5-year prison sentence, while a 6-year prison sentence was pronounced against his deputy, Abdelhafidh Feghouli, together with a fine of one million DA each.

The defendants were prosecuted for offenses related to the squandering of public funds, abuse of office, conclusion of public contracts contrary to the regulations in force, in particular during the conclusion of the contract for the construction of the gas complex of Arzew (Oran) in 2008, during which the Italian group Saipem was privileged, on the instructions of the former minister, Chakib Khelil, to the detriment of an Emirati company which had nevertheless presented a better offer.

For the two defendants Gilbert Bulato and Massimo Gallipoli Steal, representatives of the Italian Group, they were sentenced to 5 years in prison with a fine of one million DA each.

The accused Ferhat Toufik was sentenced to 6 years in prison and a fine of one million dinars.

The companies prosecuted were condemned to pay between 1 and 3 billion DA in fines.

Legal persons and Chakib Khelil are also required to pay compensation to the Public Treasury, estimated at more than 19 billion AD.

As for the rest of the defendants, including customs officials and freight forwarders, the judge pronounced their acquittal.

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