Former Bouteflika minister held in Algeria graft probe

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Algerian authorities on Monday placed in preventive detention a former cabinet minister under ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika on suspicion of squandering public funds, state television said.

Said Barakat, 71, is the latest in a series of prominent politicians and businessmen linked to Bouteflika to have been detained or questioned in connection with corruption since the ailing president was forced to step down in the face of mass protests in early April.

The former minister of national solidarity was questioned by a supreme court magistrate and ordered held in preventive detention for alleged squandering of public funds, the state broadcaster said.

His predecessor Djamel Ould Abbes, who was also the former head of Bouteflika’s party, was likewise placed in provisional detention on Sunday on similar charges.