Algerian ex-PM Sellal remanded in custody over graft allegation

Algeria’s supreme court on Thursday remanded former prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal in custody over allegations of corruption. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 June 2019
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Algerian ex-PM Sellal remanded in custody over graft allegation

  • State TV said police later arrested Mourad Eulmi, head of the private firm SOVAC, a partner of Germany's Volkswagen AG , at a car assembly plant in the western province of Relizane over "corruption cases"
  • On Wednesday, the supreme court had ordered the detention of another former prime minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, for alleged involvement in corruption

ALGIERS: Algeria’s supreme court on Thursday remanded ex-prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal in custody over graft allegations, state TV said, in a continuing crackdown on corruption and cronyism among associates of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Sellal is one of the closest Bouteflika associates to be detained since mass protests broke out in February, demanding the prosecution of people that protesters regarded as corrupt as well as sweeping democratic change.
Sellal, who left office in a May 2017 cabinet reshuffle after serving as premier and Bouteflika's campaign manager several times, is under investigation over "dissipation of public funds", state television said.
His lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
State TV said police later arrested Mourad Eulmi, head of the private firm SOVAC, a partner of Germany's Volkswagen AG , at a car assembly plant in the western province of Relizane over "corruption cases". It did not elaborate.
Volkswagen declined to comment.
SOVAC and Volkswagen signed a $170 million deal in 2016 to set up a joint venture, with SOVAC holding a majority stake, to assemble vehicles under the Volkswagen, Volkswagen

FASTFACT

The Supreme Court’s decision against the ally of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika comes a day after another former Premier, Ahmed Ouyahia, was also remanded in custody.

Commercial Vehicles, SEAT and Skoda brands.
On Wednesday, the supreme court had ordered the detention of another former prime minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, for alleged involvement in corruption, including "awarding illegal privileges and dissipation of public funds".
A judge at the supreme court confiscated the passport of former transport and public works minister Abdelghani Zaalane and ordered him to show up at the court once a month, state TV reported on Thursday, after saying on Wednesday he was detained.
Bouteflika stepped down on April 2 under pressure from the army, which is now the main decision-maker. Its chief of staff, Ahmed Gaed Salah, has urged the courts to speed up prosecution of people suspected of involvement in corruption.
Bouteflika’s youngest brother, Said, and two former intelligence chiefs have been placed in custody by a military judge for “harming the army’s authority and plotting against state authority”, according to state television.
Several prominent businessmen, some of them close to Bouteflika, have been detained pending trial.
Protesters are now seeking the departure of interim President Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, both seen as part of the elite that has ruled Algeria since independence from France in 1962.
Authorities have postponed a presidential election previously planned for July 4, citing a lack of candidates. No new date has been set for the vote.


Kushner: Trump wants fair deal for Palestinians

Updated 25 June 2019
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Kushner: Trump wants fair deal for Palestinians

  • Fighting new economic plan ‘a strategic mistake,’ White House adviser says
  • Says plan would double Palestinian GDP in 10 years, create over a million jobs

MANAMA, Bahrain: Donald Trump wants a fair deal for Palestinians, the US president’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said on the eve of the launch in Bahrain of the White House’s $50 billion “peace for prosperity” plan.

The Palestinians are missing an opportunity to participate in the Middle East peace process by boycotting the Bahrain conference, Kushner said. “This is a strong package that has been put together. Fighting it instead of embracing it, I think, is a strategic mistake.”

The plan proposes a global investment fund for Palestine and neighboring Arab states, and a $5 billion transport corridor between the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian leaders have rejected it, but Kushner said their criticism was “more emotional than specific.”

“Nobody has refuted our core premise that this would do a lot to stimulate the economy,” he said. “The Palestinian people have been trapped in a situation for a long time and we wanted to show them, and their leadership, that there is a pathway forward that could be quite exciting.”

The Palestinian people have been trapped in a situation for a long time and we wanted to show them, and their leadership, that there is a pathway forward that could be quite exciting.

Jared Kushner, US president’s adviser

Kushner said Trump decisions such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv were evidence that the president kept his promises.

“The Palestinians might not have liked his Jerusalem decision, but he made a promise and he did it,” he said. What the president wanted now was “to give the Palestinian people a fair solution.”

Kushner said the plan would double the GDP in 10 years, create over a million jobs, reduce poverty by 50 percent and bring unemployment to below 10 percent.

“We believe this doable,” he said. “It’s hard, but if there’s a peace agreement and we set up the right structure, we think it could really lead to improving people’s lives in a substantial way.

“I think there is a lot of enthusiasm in the West Bank and Gaza to see if we can find a political solution so that this can be implemented.”

The political element of the White House plan has been delayed by uncertainty in Israel, where there will be elections this year after an earlier vote failed to produce a stable coalition, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may also face a criminal trial for corruption.