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Billionaires Fall in Algeria: Here’s Why Sonatrach Is Less Worried Than Others
Algeria’s clientelist patronage system just took its first major hit, and this is now officially elite clan warfare: the presidential clan versus the military clan. The military clan now has the advantage, and Sonatrach will be their primary cash cow.
In the fallout of the Algerian political crisis, five billionaires have so far been targeted with arrest in relation to an anti-corruption investigation put in motion under pressure from mass protests. So far, the purge has netted Issad Rebrab, chairman of Cevital, the biggest privately held company in Algeria. The influential Kouninef family was also targeted, with four brothers arrested. Earlier this month, Ali Haddad, another prominent businessman, was also arrested attempting to flee to Tunisia. Former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia and current Finance Minister Mohamed Loukal have also been summoned to court in relation to an investigation into abuse of public funds. Now, the CEO of Sonatrach has been sacked.
These are all influential businessmen who served as tools of the regime to pacify the population during times of protest or “crisis”. In fact, this is the presidential clan - and right now, it’s a clan that is paranoid. It’s important to understand the General Ahmed Gaid Salah is the military wing of…