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Algeria arrests leading businessman Issad Rebrab

By Nicholas Norbrook
Posted on Tuesday, 23 April 2019 12:46

Issad Rebrab, pictured with French president Emmanuel Macron in November 2018, was a critic of deposed president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Francois Mori/Pool via REUTERS

In the wake of the Algerian revolution factions are emerging via the clean-up of public life.

The head of the army, Gaid Salah, called on 16 April for the judiciary to up the tempo of corruption investigations linked to the Bouteflika clan.

  • In late March, Ali Haddad, a rich businessman close to the recently ejected president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was arrested while attempting to travel to Tunisia.
  • In the past few days, five business tycoons were detained.

But the arrests appear to support two different factions in the fight over who should run the country.

  • The four Kouninef brothers, Abdelkader, Reda, Karim and Tarek, were arrested on Sunday. The family, with interests in agribusiness and energy services, is close to Saïd Bouteflika, brother of the former president.
  • Issad Rebrab, the CEO of Cevital and Algeria’s richest man has also now been arrested. Rebrab backed the rebellion and has been a constant critic of the government in recent years.

Back in 2016, Rebrab openly claimed that because he was not from the same region as the Bouteflika clan – he is from Kabylie – he was prevented from developing large industrial projects.

Not just big business

Politicians are being called in for questioning, too, in the continuing sweep up of public life.

The ex-prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia and the current finance minister, Mohamed Loukal, were summoned on 20 April to answer questions over the theft of public money.