Rabat – In early December, Royal Air Maroc said that it would sue Algeria Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel for accusing the flag carrier of “transporting something other than passengers,” referring to hashish. Now, the airline is geared, with two high profile French lawyers, to bring Messahel to justice.
The case surfaced on October 2, when the top Algerian diplomat claimed during a meeting with business leaders in Algiers that the Moroccan state-owned carrier transports cannabis to sub-Saharan Africa.
His slur immediatly backfired. The company is using all of the legal means at its disposal, including top French lawyers Ralph Boussier and Jean-Yves Dupeux and the Royal Palace’s lawyer Hicham Nacirito, to file a complaint on January against the Algerian official for “defamation” in the Paris District Court.
The two celebrated French lawyers have already collaborated with Morocco in national cases.
Boussier has represented Morocco in an 1999 case against the French daily Le Monde for accusing Hassan II of being the primary cannabis exporter in the world.
In 2003, he intervened on behalf of Othman Benjelloun in a fraud case.
Jean-Yves Dupeux has also stood on the side of Morocco, when boxer Zakaria Moumni claimed that he was tortured in Morocco in 2016.
The Algerian minister went so far as to accuse Morocco of funding its investments programs in sub-Saharan Africa with money obtained from drug trafficking, as well as that Moroccan banks helped launder money from the hashish trade.
“Moroccan banks are money laundering hashish, that everyone knows. The leaders of so many African countries have told me this, ” he added.
These remarks were squarely denounced by Moroccan authorities, who said that the Algerian minister showed a lack of knowledge regarding the Moroccan banking system and the rules of international civil aviation.