Ahmed Ouyahia tells state prosecutors he bought 60 gold bars acquired as items from Gulf donors.
Former Algerian premier Ahmed Ouyahia, on trial for corruption, has admitted receiving gold bars from Gulf donors then promoting them on the black market, the official APS information company reported.
Ouyahia and fellow ex-prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal are accused of covertly financing the 2019 re-election bid of then-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who resigned shortly afterwards amid mass anti-government protests.
Their retrial opened on Saturday after the Supreme Court docket in November annulled their earlier convictions following an enchantment, APS mentioned.
Each had served below Bouteflika. A number of former ministers and different well-known figures are additionally on trial over the identical affair.
Ouyahia was questioned over the supply of property in his financial institution accounts, totalling greater than $5m.
He mentioned some had come from black market gross sales “of gold bars, which he acquired as a present, in his capability as prime minister, from leaders of Gulf international locations”, APS reported.
The 60 gold bars have been estimated to be valued at some $2.5m.
Ouyahia mentioned he beforehand stored quiet concerning the matter in order “to not undermine the relations between Algeria and sure pleasant international locations”.
He additionally admitted to not having declared the sums to tax inspectors.
String of investigations
The trial of Ouyahia and Sellal in December 2019 was the primary in a collection of high-profile corruption circumstances launched after Bouteflika resigned earlier that yr.
It was additionally the primary time since Algeria’s independence from France in 1962 that former prime ministers had been placed on trial.
Ouyahia was prime minister 4 instances between 1995 and 2019, and had been sentenced to fifteen years behind bars.
Sellal, who served from 2012 to 2017 and managed 4 of Bouteflika’s election campaigns, was sentenced to 12 years in jail. The pair have been sentenced to additional jail time in separate circumstances final yr.
Bouteflika, who was Algeria’s longest-serving president, was compelled to resign in April 2019 after dropping the backing of the military amid monumental road protests in opposition to his resolution to hunt a fifth time period.
Authorities then launched a string of investigations in opposition to high-ranking former officers and enterprise figures, a number of of whom have been convicted.
However the state has additionally cracked down on opposition figures, and lots of see the trials as score-settling between rival officers fairly than a real effort at reform.