Algeria is accusing Morocco of attempting to undermine the former’s economy by producing fake dinars and circulating them in the country. Details are vague and mostly unsubstantiated – especially when the story is repackaged by the Moroccan press who feel duty bound to use anything they can to present Algeria in a poor light – but a press release on June 18th from the Algerians claims that its own police have ” thwarted an attempt to put counterfeit banknotes into circulation, a few days before Eid El Adha “.
According to Morocco’s “Le360” – hardly a beacon of objective reporting on Algeria – it would be, according to the said press release, false dinars amounting to ” 321 million centimes ” which is only something like 235,000 dirhams or 23,000 USD.
The Algerian police it would seem couldn’t help but point an accusing finger at Morocco, stating ” that this criminal plan was planned by a network of four people, led by an individual established in Morocco “, although it wouldn’t elaborate on who the Moroccan ringleader was or his nationality. Typically, the Algerian regime often practices such a tactic using Morocco as a scape goat to cover up the real story, which in this case, may well even be police corruption (as one example). More likely, the Moroccan was simply an individual businessman looking to make quick cash and certainly not working on behalf of the Moroccan state.
The four people mentioned are all of Algerian nationality, the statement claims. As for the “individual established in Morocco”, the Algerian police were silent on his identity and his city of residence. The Algerian police claim though that the “Moroccan brain” was the chief supplier of the materials needed to make the counterfeit money that the four Algerians were about to circulate the fake cash in the Algerian city of Sidi Bel Abbès.
Counterfeit money meets counterfeit journalism though. The Moroccan journalist who penned the article, more of an paternalistic editorial than a piece of regular journalism, can’t help himself but to put the boot in and explain that the Algerian economy is a catastrophe and that its banking system a shambles which is regularly looted by the elite who get their money out of the country each year through multi billion dollar money laundering scams while a parallel black market system exists allowing a 30 percent difference to the official rate of exchange and the real one.
While there is some truth to this rant, it is of course disingenuous to assume that money laundering does not exist in Morocco or that its banking system is not dysfunctional, backward, overrun with corruption and nepotism and lacks any trace of accountability. Both accounts of the story, from Algerian police and from Moroccan media are what anglo saxon journalists call “sexed up” and so caution is advised when viewing such “reportage” as the viewer is entering the murky world of fake news between two countries at each other’s throats.