Daily Trust

Bouteflika’s ‘secret daughter’ gets 12 years in jail

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A businesswo­man who many believed was the secret daughter of former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for money laundering, influence peddling, squanderin­g public funds and illegally transferri­ng money abroad.

Nachinachi Zoulikha, who goes by the name of Mme Maya, denied she ever told anyone she was Mr Bouteflika’s daughter and talked in court about the special relationsh­ip her father had with the former president.

However, local newspapers reported that Ms Zoulikha had admitted receiving special treatment for her investment­s thanks to the relationsh­ip she had with the former president.

The rumours of her being related to the president came to a head when she allegedly asked the governor of the city of Oran for help with setting up a new supermarke­t.

He was friends with Mr Bouteflika’s brother Said and, when talking to Said, referred to Ms Zoulikha-Chafika as Said’s niece.

Said denied the relationsh­ip and opened an investigat­ion.

When she was arrested in 2019, investigat­ors seized cash worth nearly a million euro in Algerian currency, 270,000 euros and $30,000, as well as 17kg of jewellery in addition to various false travel documents hidden in the walls of her house.

The court in the capital Algiers ordered Ms Zoulikha to pay a fine of six million Algerian dinars ($47,000; £36,000) and all her assets were seized.

Her two daughters Imen and Farah were also jailed for five years each and fined three million Algerian dinars.

Former cabinet ministers Mohamed El Ghazi and Abdelghani Zaalane and former police chief Abdelghani El Hamel each received 10-year jail terms. Two businessme­n Belaid Abdelghani and Ben Aicha Miloud were sentenced to seven years and 10 years in jail respective­ly.

The defence lawyers said they will appeal against the sentence.

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