Newscast Media PARIS—An Algerian billionaire, whose billion-euro business empire
extended to sponsoring Olympique Marseille, in on trial for allegedly embezzling large
sums of money in France.
The trial of Rafik Khalifa, once hailed as the “African Bill Gates”, started in Nanterre,
near Paris, on Monday. Khalifa was a golden boy in his native Algeria until his downfall
in 2002, when the businessman was accused of embezzling of more than two millions
In 2007 an Algerian court found him guilty of criminal association, corruption, abuse of
trust and forgery.
Now a French court is trying him on similar charges – in absentia, as he is currently
serving a life sentence in jail in his homeland.
The son of a former Algerian minister, Khalifa built up a one-billion-euro business
empire that extended into banking, construction, aviation, media and the sports
It included a high-profile sponsorship of the French football club Olympique de
Marseille. The fall of his empire is estimated to have cost between 1.5billion and five
billion euros to the Algerian state.
Ten other people, including Khalifa’s ex wife, are also accused by the French state of
fraud and embezzlement.
Source: Radio France Intenationale