Abdelmoumen Khalifa detained in Britain at a French request

Abdelmoumen Khalifa detained in Britain at a French request

Ech-Chorouk, 21 April 2007

Diplomatic sources confirmed to Echorouk that runaway Rafik abdelmoumen Khalifa was arrested by British authorities at the request of the French authorities.

A force spokeswoman said Rafik Khalifa, who was sentenced in absentia to life in prison by Blida criminal court (Algeria) on March 22, was arrested in the British capital on March 27.

« Rafik Abdelmoumen Khalifa, 40, of no fixed abode, was arrested by the Met’s Extradition Unit in west London, » she said in a statement. « He was arrested under a European arrest warrant issued by the French authorities under the offences of conspiracy to money launder, breach of trust and fraudulent bankruptcy. »

Khalifa, who has been exiled in London since 2003 when hundreds of millions of dollars were discovered, missing from the Khalifa Bank, was due to appear at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in central London that day.

The spokeswoman said Khalifa was still in Britain but had no information as to the outcome of the hearing. The court sentenced Khalifa to life in prison for a variety of offences, including fraud, embezzlement, theft and forgery.

Khalifa’s wife received a 10-year sentence. The court also ordered the seizure of the assets of all those convicted. Khalifa was previously arrested by British police on suspicion of money-laundering in February and given bail until May.

Algeria and Britain have an extradition treaty but lawyers have warned that an extradition process involving Khalifa could be lengthy.