APRIL 4, 2016 | BY LYAS HALLAS
MEDIAPART: Abdessalam Bouchouareb, Algerian Minister of Industry, established in 2015, via a Luxembourg company, an offshore shell to manage an account in Switzerland provisioned 700 000. Mossack Fonseca expressed concern about the risks of this”politically exposed person (PEP)” Explanations.
Among the many personalities implicated in the scandal “Panama Papers” is one of the heavyweights of the Algerian government. Abdessalam Bouchouareb, Minister of Industry and Mines, has used the services of the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca in April 2015 to create an offshore company, the Royal Arrival Corp. A year after he joined the government, and as Algerian law prohibits the possession of foreign currency assets from a business in Algeria, it appears that the minister wanted to protect behind a well opaque curtain possession of an account in Switzerland. This account, which houses 700,000 euros had previously been housed in Luxembourg and transferred to Geneva in the Swiss branch of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD Private Bank).
It is not a question this time of tens of millions of dollars. But the story of the minister illustrates the sophistication of these offshore shells administered by nominees, as shown by documents and emails obtained in the framework of the project “Panama Papers”, combining the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ ) , the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and partner for the Arab world, the Arij (Arab reporters for investigative journalism) .
According to documents in our possession, the offshore installation which Abdessalam Bouchouareb resorted to protect its Swiss financial secrecy is based on Guy Feite, financial and asset manager for the study and consultancy Company (CEC), a company established in Luxembourg.
In an email to the corresponding Mossack Fonseca Luxembourg, dated 21 October 2015 Guy Feite states that the Algerian Minister wanted to create the RAC company to manage this portfolio placed Switzerland. “The company that asked us to be was intended only to hold a portfolio of securities currently held personally and consists of capital from the sale of real estate. C e portfolio of $ 700 000 is confined since his political functions and was transferred to the Luxembourg BIL NBAD Geneva ” , he says.
Abdessalam Bouchouareb asked through the CEC to establish the offshore company with a capital of 10 000 100 dollars over bearer shares (therefore anonymous). Officially, the corporate purpose of this company is to operate in several areas, public works, trade and shipping across several countries, the UK, Turkey and Algeria.
The case was launched but in the months that follow, Mossack Fonseca will ask more additional information. After quick research on the Internet, the Panamanian firm examines the risks to the profile of this “politically exposed person (PEP)” . For cascading revelations about the properties of Algerian dignitaries in Paris marked the Algerian news in the year 2015. And Mossack Fonseca worries and threatens to withdraw from the assembly. “The problem here is that This is clearly a person emerging as PEP. So our “dept compliance.” Recommend the termination of MF as a registered agent of that company, ” wrote one responsible Mossack Fonseca, in an email to October 6, 2015 CEC Luxembourg.
In response, Guy Feite must disclose financial secrecy Bouchouareb and clarify the origin of its funds. It says in passing that the RAC is an empty shell that was created only for placing money. “I specify that Panamanian society has to date been no use and was intended to hold the said portfolio ” , he says. Angered by the concerns expressed, the precise Luxembourg Manager: “We understand that it is difficult for your ” to handle this issue, the ‘compliance dept.’ Mediocrity information culled from websites about our customer attests . We need to see Mr. Bouchouareb soon in Paris and inform your requests. By cons, in the immediate society remains on stand-by, ” he wrote in an email dated 21 October 2015.
MP, minister and businessman …
Questioned by us, Guy Feite has clarified some details of the installation, this Monday, April 5. First, the object of the RAC: “The company had intended to take over and manage the existing heritage assets before the inauguration of Mr. Bouchouareb. Other activities included in the statutes appear in them like all statutes and Panamanian companies will not correspond to any user from Mr. Bouchouareb. ” Luxembourg’s manager also confirmed the freezing of the company: ” We confirm that Mr. Bouchouareb asked us to freeze this company for the exercise of public office. ” However, it says nothing about the future of Swiss money of Minister (Read all of his answer under the” Extend “tab of this article).
Appointed in April 2014 Minister of Industry and Mines, Abdessalam Bouchouareb, 63, is not his first political office. He was minister of industry and restructuring from September 1996 to June 1997 and then Minister for employment from August 2000 to May 2001. Similarly, he chaired the National Economic and Social Council (CNES) 1994 in 1996 and made two parliamentary mandates under the banner of the National Democratic Rally (RND) where he sits in the executive bodies. He was a member of Algiers until his appointment to the government.
Alongside this political career, Abdessalam Bouchouareb is a businessman involved in several family companies that currently manages his brother Othman: IBB (Basic infrastructure and buildings) which is in public works and construction; there is also the Algerian Industrial joinery and carpentry profiles (AMIPC).
It was this businessman career is highlighted by the asset manager Guy Feite to justify the origin of funds used for the creation of the offshore company Royal Arrival Corp.(CARs). In an email of 21 October 2015 to its corresponding Mossack Fonseca, Guy Feite emphasizes: “Bouchouareb has built a heritage being industrial and does not
need politics to live.
In any case, the Minister of declaration of assets has never been published in the Official Journal , as provided by law for officials of his rank. The revelations about the offshore company will revive the minister every time the controversy over the exact state of his fortune. In April 2015, the Minister found himself implicated in the wake of the publication of the book Algiers-Paris, a passionate story , journalists Christophe Dubois and Marie-Christine Tabet (see our interview here with the authors of the book) . Their investigation revealed qu’Abdesselam Bouchouareb offers a luxurious apartment of 156 m 2 , Quai Montebello in the V th district of Paris, acquired in June 2006 to 1.18 million euros, including 600,000 euros from a bridge loan of one year. Guy Feite also confirms in its trade with Mossack Fonseca. The minister also owned another apartment Singer street in the XVI th arrondissement of Paris, sold in 2006 for 900,000 euros.
Correspondence exchanged between the CEC and Mossack Fonseca show concern for Abdessalam Bouchouareb, which has officially no activities outside of Algeria, was to conceal his identity. If the offshore company is now “frozen” , assures her wealth manager, wealth minister continues to thrive in the opacity and outside Algeria.