Bermuda swears in new premier following surprise resignation

HAMILTON Tue May 20, 2014 1:37pm EDT

HAMILTON May 20 (Reuters) - Michael Dunkley was sworn in as acting premier of Bermuda on Tuesday following the surprise resignation of Premier Craig Cannonier over allegations that he accepted $300,000 in campaign funds from a U.S. real estate developer.

"Nothing illegal was done, but I accept there was a failure over time to be completely transparent," Cannonier announced on Monday night.

Dunkley, the former deputy premier and national security minister of the British Overseas Territory was sworn in by Governor George Fergusson.

Cannonier, 51, has led Bermuda's One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) since its formation as the opposition to the Progressive Labor Party in late 2011. He was elected premier in December 2012, when the OBA won a small majority in the island-nation's lower house of parliament. A representative of the OBA could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Cannonier came under scrutiny for accepting $300,000 in campaign funds from U.S. real estate developer Nathan Landow and using Landow's private jet for a trip to Washington D.C. last year.

Landow once chaired the Maryland state Democratic Party and in recent years has sought to open casinos across the state. Landow could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. (Additional reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Editing by David Adams and Dan Grebler)

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