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Algeria Goes for Corruptors of the Past

The former CEO of Algeria’s state-owned oil and gas group Sonatrach, Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for corruption in connection with the purchase of a refinery in Italy. Ahmed Mazighi, the former assistant to Mr. Ould Kaddour who had piloted the project to buy the refinery, was sentenced to seven years in prison. A former executive of the oil group was sentenced to three years in prison while another was released by the Algiers court, according to the lawyer. They were prosecuted in a corruption case related to the purchase by Sonatrach in 2018 of the Augusta refinery and various infrastructure in southern Italy from Esso Italy, a subsidiary of American ExxonMobil. The amount of the transfer had not been specified but according to the Algerian media, the oil group has paid $ 720 million, an amount considered excessive for an old refinery that began production in 1950. According to the prosecutor’s office, the transaction cost Sonatrach a total of 2.1 billion dollars, as the company also paid 916 million dollars to acquire the oil stored in the refinery and significant additional sums for renovation work.