French newspaper Le Monde was accused Sunday of “gratuitously” damaging Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s image in its coverage of the so-called Panama Papers.
The paper on Tuesday last week published a front-page image of Bouteflika before clarifying that the Algerian President’s name did not appear in the leak of millions of financial records from a Panamanian law firm.
Algiers formally summoned the French envoy to complain about the newspaper’s coverage, which it called a “hostile campaign.”
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls visited Algeria in attempt to resolve the dispute which threatens to overshadow key trade deals between the two countries.
France and Algeria signed several economic agreements during the two-day visit. Valls and Bouteflika reportedly also met to discuss the fight against extremism in neighboring Libya.
Valls’ visit has been dogged by Algeria refusing the visa applications for French journalists, including a reporter from Le Monde and a reporter from the satirical Canal+ show Le Petit Journal.