A verdict was reached in the high-profile corruption trial of former executives at Algeria’s state energy giant, Sonatrach. Six officials were handed between five to six years of jail sentences, including a former vice president and an ex-state bank chief. Two local subsidiaries and two international companies were fined for having played their role in illegal trading, Reuters reported. The charges against the defendants included corruption, money laundering, awarding contracts contrary to the law and regulations, and hiking the prices of contracts. Two foreign firms, Italian oil services company, Saipem, and Germany’s Funkwerk, were also implicated in the case for allegedly having secured contracts fraudulently from Sonatrach executives, according to JeauneAfrica.com. The court imposed a fine worth $38,000 on Contel-Funkwerk and Saipem Contracting Algeria.
The verdicts in the so-called Sonatrach 1 case –linked to equipment supplies for the company– come at a time when sliding global oil prices have significantly hit state finances in Algeria, an OPEC member that is struggling to attract sorely needed foreign investment.