Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, a former CEO of Algeria’s state-owned oil and gas group Sonatrach, has been sentenced to jail.
In a corruption case involving the 2018 purchase by Sonatrach of the Augusta refinery and other assets in southern Italy from Esso Italy, an affiliate of American ExxonMobil, Kaddour and other indicted individuals were prosecuted. Miloud Brahimi, a defense lawyer, said Kaddour “was sentenced to 15 years in prison”. According to the lawyer, the Algiers court condemned one former Executive of the oil firm to three years in prison while freeing another. The project to purchase the refinery was led by Ahmed Mazighi, a former aide to Ould Kaddour who received a seven-year prison term.
What were the exact crimes committed?
Questions have been asked about the financial aspect of the deal. Although the transfer’s price was not disclosed, Algerian media reports that the oil group paid $720m, which is a large sum for a 1950-era refinery of its age. The prosecutor’s office estimates that Sonatrach spent $2.1b on the transaction, including $916m for the purchase of the refined oil and a sizable additional sum for remodeling costs.
After being detained in the United Arab Emirates in accordance with an international arrest order issued by the Algerian judiciary, Ould Kaddour, a close friend of the late ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was extradited to Algeria in August 2021. Appointed head of Sonatrach in March 2017, Ould Kaddour was fired three weeks after Abdelaziz Bouteflika was overthrown in early April 2019.