x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Kuwait questions former MPs over corruption

Kuwait prosecutors have questioned two former MPs over money-laundering accusations after millions of dollars were allegedly deposited in their bank accounts.

KUWAIT CITY // Kuwait prosecutors have questioned two former MPs over money-laundering accusations after millions of dollars were allegedly deposited in their bank accounts.

Kuwait's Al Jarida newspaper, one of four local papers to report on the interrogations, said the former pro-government legislators, Mukhled Al Azemi and Hussein Al Huraiti, were questioned late on Monday on the source of the funds. They were released on Dh66,119 bail each.

The two are the first of about 15 members in the dissolved 50-seat parliament to be questioned on the alleged illegal deposits that in total amount to Dh1.28 billion.

More former MPs were expected to be interrogated during the next few days as the Gulf state prepares for its fourth general polls in less than six years.

The case has rocked the oil-rich emirate's political establishment and led to the resignation of the government and dissolution of parliament.

According to Al Jarida, Mr Huraiti, a former justice minister and judge, denied the accusations during the interrogation and claimed he acquired the money through his law firm.

In September, the public prosecutor launched an investigation after several local banks reported the deposit of millions of dollars into the bank accounts of about15 former legislators.

The central bank's financial intelligence unit later confirmed to the public prosecution that the bank accounts of the ex-MPs had received large cash deposits.

Kuwait's opposition claims that the money was paid to the ex-legislators in return for their support in parliamentary votes, including motions of no-confidence against the former premier and his ministers. The Kuwaiti government has denied the allegations.