Algerian ex-minister sentenced to 20 years in prison for corruption

Algerian Oil Minister and OPEC President Chakib Khelil is seen arriving for a news conference after a meeting of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna in this September 10, 2008 file photo. OPEC President Khelil is a skilled communicator and oil industry professional who will oversee efforts to bolster sagging prices and to restore the group's clout at a critical meeting on December 17, 2008 in Algeria. Photo taken September 10, 2008. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader/Files (AUSTRIA)

By Theodore Jones –

Algerian court on Monday sentenced in absentia ex-energy ministry Chakib Khelil, who served under former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to 20 years in prison on corruption charges, local media reported.

The Sidi M’Hamed court in Algiers also fined the longtime former minister, who served for half of Bouteflika’s 20-year tenure, two million dinars (about $14,200).

A former head of the North African country’s oil and gas firm Sonatrach, Mohamed Meziane, was sentenced to five years in prison and a one-million dinar (about $7, 100) fine in the same trial.

Meziane is already serving time in a separate case.

Sonatrach’s former vice president, Abdelhafidh Feghouli, was sentenced to six years in prison and a fine of one million dinars.

The trial opened on February 1, with the prosecution demanding 20- and 10-year sentences for Khelil and Meziane.

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