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Ousted Algeria leader's 'secret child' loses appeal against jail

Zoulikha Nachinache has lost her appeal [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 December, 2020

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Zoulikha Nachinache was found guilty of money laundering, influence peddling, squandering public funds and illicit transfer of foreign currency abroad.

A prominent Algerian businesswoman, allegedly an illegitimate child of ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was jailed for 12 years on corruption charges on Thursday, after a court rejected her appeal.

The court also upheld a six million dinar fine ($47,000) imposed by a lower court in October and ordered the confiscation of her properties, the official APS news agency reported.

Zoulikha Nachinache, widely known as Madame Maya, was found guilty of money laundering, influence peddling, squandering public funds and illicit transfer of foreign currency abroad.

The businesswoman argued in court that she was close to Bouteflika through her father who had been a friend of the president since before Bouteflika took office in 1999.

Her downfall came in July 2019, barely three months after Bouteflika's ouster, when security services found a treasure trove during a search of her home in an upscale suburb of Algiers.

Investigators seized some $900,000 in Algerian dinars, 270,000 euros ($317,000), $30,000 dollars and 17 kilos (34 pounds) of gold jewellery.

Several ministers, senior government officials and businessmen have been convicted of corruption, including the elderly ex-president's brother, Said Bouteflika, since he resigned in April 2019 under pressure from mass street protests against his two-decade-long rule.

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