(Reuters) - State-controlled television in Myanmar on Wednesday reported a prominent businessman as saying he had given ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi about $550,000 in illegal payments in 2019 and 2020.
The military junta which seized power in a coup on Feb. 1 announced last week that it was investigating Suu Kyi, who is currently being held in detention, on suspicion of bribery.
The comments made by property developer Maung Weik on MRTV add to the case the junta has begun to make against Suu Kyi, who could face a long prison sentence if convicted.
Her lawyer dismissed the initial accusation last week as a joke. He was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.
Maung Weik said he had given Suu Kyi four payments, ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 in 2019 and 2020. At that time she was Myanmar’s de facto civilian leader in the role of State Counsellor
“According to the testimony of U Maung Weik...Aung San Suu Kyi is guilty of bribery and the anti-corruption commission is investigating to take action under anti-corruption laws,” MRTV said.
She has also been charged separately with illegally importing communications equipment and violating anti-coronavirus rules.
As well as prison sentences, she could be barred from politics if convicted. Several Western governments have denounced the charges as fabricated.
The Nobel laureate has been detained since the coup in an undisclosed location. Her National League for Democracy won an election in November by a landslide, but the military overthrew the new government saying its victory was fraudulent - a claim rejected by the electoral commission.
Reporting by Reuters staff, writing by Robert Birsel, Editing by Angus MacSwan
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