( AFP ) - Algeria has formally demanded the extradition from Britain of former Algerian bank chief Rafik Khalifa, sentenced to life over a massive embezzlement scandal, the British ambassador said Sunday.
"Algerian judicial authorities have put forward a request that is now in the hands of the British authorities," said Algiers ambassador Andrew Anderson, adding that the request had been lodged at the end of October.
Khalifa, who is in his early 40's, was sentenced in March to life in prison in absentia by an Algerian court over fraud and embezzlement offences related to the collapse of the bank he founded.
He started living in exile in London in 2003 after hundreds of millions of dollars (euros) were discovered missing from the Khalifa Bank, until then Algeria's largest private bank.
He was detained in Britain in March under a European arrest warrant issued by a court in France, which is also seeking to extradite him over allegations of embezzlement from the Khalifa Group and French-registered subsidiaries.
A British judge granted his extradition to France at the end of August subject to appeal.
Khalifa lodged an appeal which is expected to be heard by the High Court in London before the end of the month.
A court in Blida, southern Algeria, sentenced Khalifa to life imprisonment in March over the collapse of the country's largest private bank.
His wife received a 10-year-sentence, whilst other former high-ranking Algerian officials, including a former governor of the central bank and a former industry minister, were handed lengthy jail terms.
The court also ordered the seizure of the assets of all those convicted.