Issad Rebrab, CEO of the first private Algerian group, Cevital, was placed under arrest warrant on the night of April 22-23 in Algiers, after being heard by the prosecution as part of an anti-corruption investigation.
Considered the richest man in his country, Issad Rebrab, 74, is "Suspected of misrepresenting the movement of capital from and to abroad, overcharging, importation of used equipment despite the granting of bank, tax and customs benefits (for new equipment)", according to Algerian state television.
On Monday the 22nd, the direction of his group had denied any arrest and indicated that Issad Rebrab had presented himself to the gendarmerie "As part of the blocking of our Evcon project". This project concerns a technology that the group has developed. This is a process for filtering water.
The Cevital group intends to install a unit using this process in Algeria but has not received the administrative authorizations to import the necessary machines. Tuesday, April 23, it was impossible to say whether the arrest of the businessman was really related to this project, or to other investigations.
Close relatives of the Bouteflika clan also arrested
Monday, April 22, four brothers of the powerful family Kouninef, owner of the large group KouGC specializing in particular in civil engineering, hydraulics and construction, were also arrested. They are considered close to the Bouteflika clan.
Constitutional interim breaks down in Algeria
Since the resignation of the former Algerian president, the justice multiplies the investigations in the country against businessmen. But Issad Rebrab does not belong to the same circle, insofar as he is considered independent and does not spare his criticism against the Algerian authorities.
Atypical personality, he has not hesitated to express in recent weeks his support to the protesters who demanded the departure of Bouteflika. And he has been openly opposed for years to members of the government, accusing them of organizing the "Economic sabotage" from the country.
Last February, he issued a statement denouncing the deadlock "For more than 700 days" an oil production project in Bejaia which could, however, have positive spin-offs in terms of employment.
– Cevital Group (@CvitalGroup) February 27, 2019
A diversified conglomerate
Issad Rebrab has built in a few years, a large industrial group. Starting from scratch, he created a conglomerate that is present in agribusiness, automobile sales, shipping, glass, or agricultural machinery.
Its main activity however remains the hypermarkets. He knew how to take advantage of the appetite to consume of the new middle class.
The Cevital group currently employs 18,000 people and has 26 subsidiaries, including abroad. Evcon, which has developed the water filtration process, is based in Germany. But Issad Rebrab also bought in 2014 the factory Fagor Brandt in France, manufacturer of household appliances and in May 2013 the French PVC windows manufacturer Oxxo.
The richest man in Algeria wants to save Mother Denis
Originally from Kabylie, he comes from a modest family. First a chartered accountant, he then took over in 1971, in Algeria, a metal construction company that employed 4 people at the time. He has continued to expand his scope of activity by making multiple redemptions. His five children all work with him in the group.