Former “golden boy” Rafik Khalifa, involved in one of the biggest financial scandals in Algeria, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Sunday after his trial, the official Algerian agency said. APS.
The criminal court of Blida (45 km southwest of Algiers) also sentenced the ex-businessman to a fine of one million dinars (approximately 7,000 euros) and pronounced the deprivation of his civil rights for a period of three years, according to the same source.
On November 11, the prosecutor requested life imprisonment for Mr. Khalifa.
The trial of the fraudulent bankruptcy of the Khalifa Bank, founded by the convict, reopened on November 8 after the favorable response of the Supreme Court to the appeal in cassation, presented by the defense of several defendants, of the verdict pronounced in 2015.
Rafik Khalifa was then sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Mr. Khalifa and 11 co-defendants were prosecuted for “constitution of criminal association”, “falsification of official documents and use of forgeries”, “theft in meetings, swindle, breach of trust and corruption” and “fraudulent bankruptcy”.
Rafik Khalifa defended himself by asserting that the funds of his bank had been “looted” as soon as he fled Algeria in 2003, “with the complicity of the old system”, an allusion to the deposed President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019, and to those around him.
During a first trial in 2007, this 54-year-old former member of the jet set, courted in Algiers and Paris, was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment.
After the bankruptcy of his group in 2003 and that of Khalifa Bank, which would have caused damage of nearly five billion dollars to the State and to savers, Mr. Khalifa took refuge in London.
In 2014, he was sentenced by default in France to five years in prison for embezzling millions of euros.
The Khalifa group was formed around a bank, an airline and two television channels and employed 20,000 people in Algeria and Europe.