CAIRO: Algerian tax authorities are demanding $596.6 million in outstanding taxes from Egypt’s Orascom Telecom only a few days after the company pulled its employees from the country when an angry crowd of Algerian football fans attacked the premises, state news agency MENA said on Tuesday.
Naguib Sawaris, Orascom executive chairman, said the company’s 25 Egyptian employees and their families were pulled out after the attacks on the offices of an Orascom subsidiary and a plant that produces smart cards.
The attacks caused $5 million in damages, with no injuries to the employees, he said.
Several Algerian footballers were hurt after the team bus was stoned en route from Cairo airport to a hotel before a World Cup qualifier in Cairo on Saturday. A similar fate befell some visiting supporters after Egypt won the game, but failed to oust Algeria on goal difference.
People then took to the streets in Algiers, attacking 15 offices belonging to a local subsidiary of Orascom and twice ransacking the Algiers offices of Egypt Air, prompting Egypt to call in the Algerian ambassador.
Thousands of Egyptian and Algerian fans are now flocking to Sudan ahead of a play-off on Wednesday, with the winner qualifying for next year’s World Cup in South Africa.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said he told his Algerian counterpart, Mourad Medelci, that his government must confront “the groups of saboteurs, MENA reported.
The authorities have put the security forces on high alert to prevent any repetition of the violence that has dogged the battle between the teams’ supporters. -Agencies