Algeria media group chief arrested for 'corruption'

Ennahar group denies corruption charges against its owner Rahmani who is in police custody.

ALGIERS - The powerful head of Algerian private media group Ennahar, Anis Rahmani, has been arrested on corruption and other charges, a security source said Thursday.

Rahmani - who is said to be close to former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika - "was arrested yesterday for corruption and is in police custody," the source said.

The 49-year-old journalist, whose real name is Mohamed Mokadem, has been accused of offences including "breach of exchange regulations", "blackmail to gain undue advantage" and "holding foreign bank accounts", according to several Algerian private media outlets.

The Ennahar group confirmed Rahmani's arrest in a statement published on its website on Thursday but denied the charges reportedly against him.

"He was arrested by plain-clothes agents who took him to the Bab Edjedid gendarmerie squad in Algiers", the statement said. "No charge has yet been brought against Anis Rahmani, who has not appeared before the court".

On Monday, a court in the capital Algiers ordered Ennahar TV to pay a fine to the former head of the Algerian Olympic delegation to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Amar Brahmia, and his family, for "defamation".

The Arabic-speaking channel announced at the time that Brahmia travelled at the expense of the state with five members of his family to Rio de Janeiro to attend the Olympic Games.

“No financial support was granted to the Brahmia family during this trip, neither from state institutions, nor from any sponsor, nor from the Algerian Olympic and Sports Committee,” said Brahmia in a statement released on Monday.

Algeria media reported that Rahmani built a big media empire thanks to the support of the brother of former president Bouteflika whom he supported until his demise.

Rahmani’s media empire backed former head of state General Ahmed Gaid Salah until his sudden death.