The government of Algeria has launched a money-laundering investigation based on information revealed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Panama Papers investigation.
The investigation, which involves the abuse of a government-run milk powder subsidy program and laundering the proceeds from the scheme, was revealed in a decision by Switzerland’s Federal Court. The fraud’s alleged masterminds had bank accounts in Switzerland.
In reaching its decision, the Swiss Federal Court cited reporting by Algerian journalist and ICIJ member Lyas Hallas who worked on the Panama Papers. The story was published by Le Monde Afrique.
ICIJ reports that the Algerian entrepreneur Zoubir Bererhi, the brother of a former government minister, inflated the price of milk powder imported under a government-run subsidy program, Hallas reported.
Bererhi made millions of dollars in inflated profits from the scheme look legitimate using Swiss bank accounts and offshore companies, Hallas reported using Panama Papers documents.
“Their offshore company, which they claimed not to own, bought the milk powder at the global market price and sold it to their own dairy company sometimes for as much as twice the price,” Hallas reported.