Soros's Open Society Foundations calls for release of its staff member in Myanmar

LONDON (Reuters) - The Open Society Foundations, an organisation founded by billionaire George Soros, called on Tuesday for the immediate release of a staff member in Myanmar and said allegations of financial misconduct made against it were false.

“The Open Society Foundations are deeply concerned by reports that an OSM (Open Society Myanmar) staff member has been detained in Myanmar,” it said.

“We call for her immediate release. We are alarmed by reports that authorities are seeking to interrogate other staff members.”

Myanmar authorities detained an official from the foundation and are looking for 11 other employees on suspicion the group passed funds to opponents of a Feb. 1 coup, state media said.

“Claims of financial misconduct, including that OSM acted illegally by withdrawing their own funds in local currency from the SMID bank, are false,” Open Society Foundations said.

“Claims that OSM used these funds for illegal purposes are false. These funds were used for purposes fully within the objectives of OSM.”

Open Society Foundations said the allegations suggested “a worrying attempt to attack and discredit those who wish for a return to peace and democracy in Myanmar.”

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge. Editing by Andrew MacAskill