View of the Abdullah al-Salem Hall at the Kuwait's National Assembly in August 2012
View of the Abdullah al-Salem Hall at the Kuwait's National Assembly in August 2012. Kuwait's public prosecution says it has suspended investigations into highly publicised allegations of corruption against 13 former MPs, saying it had found no evidence of any crime. © Yasser al-Zayyat - AFP/File
View of the Abdullah al-Salem Hall at the Kuwait's National Assembly in August 2012
AFP
Last updated: October 17, 2012

Kuwait finds no graft evidence against ex-MPs

Kuwait's public prosecution said Wednesday it had suspended investigations into highly publicised allegations of corruption against 13 former MPs, saying it had found no evidence of any crime.

"Investigation and interrogation (by the public prosecution) did not find any evidence to prove any crime like bribery, graft, money laundering or others against any suspect in the case," said a statement by the prosecution service.

"As a result, the public prosecution concluded that there was no suspicion of a crime... and shelved (the case)," said the statement cited by the official KUNA news agency.

The decision could escalate political tensions in the emirate where opposition supporters have been staging street protests.

The corruption allegations first broke in September last year after a local newspaper published a story that millions of dinars (dollars) were illegally deposited into the bank accounts of several members of the 2009 parliament.

The Kuwaiti opposition said the deposits amounted to around $350 million and claimed the money was a political bribe to win the former lawmakers' votes on crucial issues.

The former government had denied any wrongdoing in the case.

The public prosecution interrogated around 13 former MPs and released them on $18,000 bail each.

The corruption allegations, along with claims that the former prime minister illegally transferred millions of dinars of public funds into foreign bank accounts, sparked angry street protests by youth activists and the opposition.

The demonstrations forced former premier Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, to resign in late November and later the oil-rich Gulf state ruler dissolved parliament and ordered snap polls.

Wednesday's decision came despite a confirmation by the central bank's financial intelligence unit last year that the bank accounts of the ex-MPs had in fact received large cash deposits.

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