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Sat 20 Mar 2010 02:55 PM

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Bahrain arrests minister for money laundering - report

Person arrested is currently a minister of state and a former cabinet minister.

Bahrain arrests minister for money laundering - report
BAHRAINI MINISTER: The crimes were discovered after raiding the minister’s home and office. Getty Images)

Bahraini authorities detained a government minister this week on charges of carrying out money laundering activities at home and abroad, according to a report.

The Al Watan Daily said that the minister was released on Friday due to health conditions, a day after he was charged and detained.

The minister, who was only identified as an official in an Interior Ministry statement, was taken into custody and interrogated Thursday by security services before he was presented to the Public Prosecution Office, the Kuwaiti daily added.

According to Arab News, the assistant undersecretary of legal affairs at the Ministry of Interior, Brig Mohammed Rashid Buhamood, confirmed the arrest in a statement on Friday: "The arrest took place after intensive investigations by the Anti-Money Laundering Directorate, which has legal permission to use monitoring and recording techniques."

Buhamood added that the ministry traced his illegal activities to the beginning of 2009. "His phone calls and meetings with his associates were tapped."

According to Arab News daily's sources, the person arrested is currently serving as a minister of state and had also served as a Cabinet minister.

Though the official had not been mentioned in the statement, Saudi-based Arab News daily mentioned the name of Bahraini minister of state, Mansoor Bin Rajab.

“Mansoor Bin Rajab, who was reportedly detained by authorities a day earlier, denied being charged with money-laundering or any other crimes. He also denied that he appeared in front of the Public Prosecutor,” a photo caption on its website said.

The minister is the first accused of criminal wrongdoing in the Gulf island state since it gained independence from Britain in 1971, according to Al Watan Daily.

The Al Watan Daily said that sources told the German Press Agency dpa that a number of Western European agencies were among the foreign security services that had cooperated with Bahrain to uncover the scheme.

The crimes were discovered after raiding the minister’s home and office, and are said to amount to millions of US dollars.

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