Mahieddine Tahkout, a powerful automobile business tycoon has been arrested amid a corruption crackdown. Mahieddine Tahkout was close to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. He founded the Tahkout Manufacturing Company (TMC) and made a fortune assembling vehicles in Algeria for South Korean carmaker Hyundai. Tahkout also won public contracts to provide transport to university students. The Tahkout family has become one of the most prominent families in the country.
Mahieddine Tahkout is accused of corruption and money laundering, according to his lawyer. He was taken to custody at El-Harrach Prison, east of Algiers, after spending the night answering to the questions of investigators about obtaining undue advantages in obtaining public contracts.
Mahieddine Tahkout had tried to leave the country on March 31st, but had been stopped at Alger International Airport.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 82, stepped down early in April after several weeks of popular protests against his 20-year tenure. Since his removal on April 3, several prominent politicians and businessmen who were closed to Bouteflika, have been arrested or questioned. According to Ennahar TV, authorities have seized the passports of 12 businessmen linked to Bouteflika.
Bouteflika is currently being replaced by Abdelkader Bensalah who acts as interim president for a period of 90 days overseen by the army.
Street demonstrations have not shown any sign of slowdown. Protestors want the departure of all officials associated with the previous regime, including Bensalah who was a former speaker of parliament.