Court postpones Djezzy’s $1.25 billion fine (Algeria)
The appeal hearing regarding a $1.25 billion fine on Djezzy has been postponed until May 27 as reported by Reuters. The appeal hearing on the local mobile phone unit of Russian telecoms firm Vimpelcom had already been postponed once, a week earlier.
As per the report, Djezzy chief executive Tamer El Mahdy, who has been convicted in the case and faces jail if the conviction is upheld, was not in court for Sunday’s hearing. A lower court ruled in March that Djezzy and its CEO were guilty of violating foreign exchange regulations. Djezzy’s parent company denied the allegations against it and its chief executive, and lodged an appeal.
Reuters reveals that Djezzy has been the subject of a long-running dispute with the Algerian government, during which the firm has been hit by back-tax demands, threatened with nationalisation, and put under criminal investigation. Vimpelcom acquired Djezzy last year when it bought the assets of previous owner, Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom.
Under pressure from the Algerian government, Vimpelcom agreed to talks on selling a controlling stake in Djezzy to the Algerian state. However, the decision to impose the $1.25 billion fine soured those talks and prompted Vimpelcom to announce it was going to international arbitration against Algeria.