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Algerian motor tycoon arrested amid anti-corruption campaign

Mahieddine Tahkout is accused of corruption and money laundering [Twitter]

Date of publication: 10 June, 2019

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Algerian authorities have arrested Mahieddine Tahkout, a car tycoon close to Bouteflika who owned factories which assembled Korean cars, amid an anti-corruption drive.

Algerian authorities on Monday detained an automobile tycoon linked to ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika on charges of corruption, one of his lawyers told the Agence France-Presse news agency. 

Mahieddine Tahkout "was detained along with his son and two of his brothers on charges of corruption and money laundering", lawyer Khaled Bourayou said. 

The decision to detain them came a day after they were questioned by an investigative judge, the official APS news agency said.

Tahkout was taken this morning to the El-Harrach Prison, east of Algiers, after a long night of questioning. 

Private media said Tahkout, who holds several foreign car dealerships, was accused of "undue privileges" pertaining to the assembly of cars under the rule of Bouteflika, who was forced to step down in April after weeks of protests. 

Tahkout and the family members run the Tahkout Manufacturing Company (TMC) which assembles vehicles in Algeria for South Korean carmaker Hyundai.

He also has contracts to provide transport to university students. There were reports that some university transport links had stopped running after his arrest.

Several prominent politicians and businessmen linked to Bouteflika have been detained or questioned in connection with corruption since the ailing president was forced to step down on 3 April.

The chief of staff of the Algerian army, Ahmed Gaid Saleh, who played a key role in Bouteflika's removal, has previously said that the Algerian justice system "will open up big corruption cases… without restriction or pressure" regarding what he described as Bouteflika's "gang".

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