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Thu 1 Mar 2012 11:54 AM

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Kuwait prosecutor orders former PM investigated

Case centred on allegations of "foreign transfers" through Kuwait embassies

Kuwait prosecutor orders former PM investigated
It is rare for a complaint against a former prime minister and a member of the ruling al-Sabah family to be investigated at such a high level. (AFP/Getty Images)

Kuwait's public prosecutor has asked a court to investigate a complaint against a former prime minister and a nephew of the emir over allegations of illicit financial transfers abroad, a source at the prosecutor's office said on Wednesday.

Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah's government resigned last year after some opposition lawmakers alleged it had made a series of illegal financial transfers via Kuwait's embassies abroad. Sheikh Nasser's government denied any wrongdoing at the time.

But on Wednesday, a source at the prosecutor's office said the Sheikh was being investigated in connection with the allegations and would be summoned for questioning if the court decided there were grounds to proceed with the investigation.

"Informed legal sources have asserted that the public prosecutor, Judge Dirar al-Asousi, has transferred a complaint filed against former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed to the permanent investigation committee which specialises in trying ministers," the al-Qabas daily said in its main story.

It said the case centred on allegations by an opposition parliament member of "foreign transfers" through Kuwaiti embassies abroad.

Al-Watan, another Arabic-language Kuwaiti newspaper, said the committee would rule on the seriousness of the complaint.

It is rare for a complaint against a former prime minister and a member of the ruling al-Sabah family to be investigated at such a high level.

When the allegations first came to light last year angry protesters staged a series of demonstrations outside parliament that culminated in the storming of the chamber, eventually forcing the government to resign and triggering the dissolution of the assembly.

Subsequent elections gave Islamist-led opposition candidates a majority in parliament.

Kuwait, a key regional US ally, is one of the world's top oil exporters and home to the region's most outspoken parliament.

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