All round welsh windbag and rentagob , Kim Howells, FO Minister for dealing with the awkward squad, has been arranging a visit by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to London in the 9th of July. He will meet will meet the Queen and will hold discussions with the Prime Minister Tony Blair. He was also helping the Algerian Gvernment get their hands on the London based, high living swindler Abdelmoumen Rafik Khalifa.(see pic)
Algeria has been seeking extradition of the former head and founder of the eponymous Khalifa group for 2 years, who is charged in Algeria with fraud and money laundering, and who fled to London from France.
In less than 10 years Khalifa created a pharmaceuticals empire, bought some of Europe's most expensive property, started a bank (Khalifa in which millions disapperaed) , an airline and a luxury car rental service, and put his name on Olympique de Marseille's strip.
He mingled with the rich and famous, including Sting, Ricky Martin, Bono, Pamela Anderson, Melanie Griffith and former French Culture Minister Jack Lang.
At one stage in the investighation into his dealings 61 year old Catherine Deneuve was asked whether she had received an appearance fee from Khalifa's empire of €40,000 (£32,000), handed over in cash in a toilet. She has also been accused by Khalifa's former right-hand man, Mohamed Chechaoui, of receiving €45,000 to attend a football match in Algiers.
Gérard Depardieu, told police that he was paid €30,000 (£20,600) to attend a football match n February 2002 by Khalifa prior to it's collpase.
Allegations that he was involved with military staffs and money lauyndering frommthe country's oil riches are rejected ..most Algerian military chiefs have been quietly laundering the country's oil wealth for 40 years and they do not need a high-profile golden wonder play boy who makes the process public.
Seventeen other Algerians are currently being held or are under conditional release in Britain under suspicions of terrorism, awaiting expulsion. Under the agreement Howell has signed , Algeria stands to gain custody of its nationals now in U.K. custody and Britain can rid itself of Algerians it has labeled as security threats but is either unwilling or unable to prosecute. The memorandum is designed to address the fact that international law prevents the transfer of persons to countries where they are at risk of torture.
Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division said in March ... The British government should be encouraging Algeria to take positive action to eradicate torture, instead of looking for ways around the obligation not to return people at risk of torture. If there is real evidence that these suspects pose a threat they should be prosecuted in the British courts.
The agreement that Howell blithely signed probably resembles the so called memoranda of understanding (MOUs) that the U.K. has already reached with Jordan, Lebanon, and Libya. Under these memoranda, the receiving governments provide “diplomatic assurances” that they will not mistreat persons that the other country transfers to their territory.
They are not worth the paper they are written on ... a diplomatic nonsense that helps keep a few FO type asleep o'nights.