Six people have been jailed in Algeria as part of a corruption case involving state energy company Sonatrach.

On 2 February, state news agency APS reported that the defendants were charged with crimes that include corruption, money laundering, awarding contracts contrary to the law, and inflating the prices of contracts.

Belkacem Boumediene, a former vice-president for upstream activities at Sonatrach, the son of a former Sonatrach CEO and a former director of a state bank were all handed five-year sentences.

Mohamed Reda al-Ismail, the boss of Algerian/German firm Contel Funkwerk, was handed a six-year sentence. Two other figures connected to Sonatrach were handed six-year sentences.

As part of the ruling, Italian contractor Saipem was handed a fine worth €34,000 ($37,000) for allegedly inflating the price of contracts to build a gas pipeline.

In a statement released on the same day, Saipem said it believes no inflation above market rates occurred. The firm is planning to appeal against the court decision.