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Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi pleads not guilty as graft trial continues

The nine other corruption cases include several related to the purchase and rental of a helicopter

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi

AP Bangkok
Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi pleaded not guilty on Monday to a corruption charge that alleged she had accepted USD 600,000 and seven gold bars from a former political ally, a legal official said.
The case is one of 10 in which she is being prosecuted under the anti-corruption law.
She is accused of receiving the money and gold bars in 2017-18 from Phyo Min Thein, the former chief minister of Yangon, the country's biggest city. He was also a senior member of her National League for Democracy party.
Suu Kyi has been detained since the army toppled her elected government in February last year, and has not been seen or allowed to speak in public since then.
All of her court hearings have been closed to the media and public. Her lawyers, before they were served with gag orders late last year, said she rejected all the corruption allegations against her as absurd.
Suu Kyi has also faced a series of other criminal charges since her arrest. She has already been sentenced to six years' imprisonment after being convicted of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies, violating coronavirus restrictions and sedition.
Her supporters and human rights groups say the cases against her are an attempt to discredit her and keep her from returning to politics and participating in a new election the army has promised by 2023.
Her party won a landslide victory in the 2020 general election. The army said it seized power because there was massive voting fraud, an allegation that independent poll watchers do not support.
A court in the capital, Naypyitaw, is hearing the 10 corruption cases against Suu Kyi. The maximum penalty for each offense is 15 years in prison and a fine.
The nine other corruption cases include several related to the purchase and rental of a helicopter.
She is also charged with diverting money meant as charitable donations to build a residence, and with misusing her position to obtain rental properties at lower-than-market prices for a foundation named after her mother.
The state Anti-Corruption Commission has declared that several of the actions deprived the state of revenue it would otherwise have earned.
An 11th corruption charge, alleging that she accepted another bribe, has not yet gone to trial.
In Monday's hearing, the judge ruled that the trial should proceed after earlier hearing the prosecution's case, as is customary in Myanmar trials, and Suu Kyi then pleaded not guilty.
She then requested that four prosecution witnesses, including Phyo Min Thein, be recalled for re-examination.
The legal official familiar with the hearing said Suu Kyi appeared to be in good health.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to release information.
Suu Kyi is also being tried in the same court on a charge of violating the Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years, and on a charge alleging election fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of three years.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 28 2022 | 9:56 PM IST

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