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Mon 28 Jul 2008 02:02 AM

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UAE president sacks minister

Individual at the centre of alleged financial scandal 'relieved of his post' as Minister of State.

The UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan has sacked the minister at the centre of an alleged financial scandal, the official news agency WAM reported on Sunday.

In a terse statement, WAM said the president had "issued a federal decree relieving HE Dr Khalifa Bakhit [Al-Falasi] of his post as Minister of State."

Al-Falasi was previously the UAE's first ambassador to Australia, a member of the Consultative Authority of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and undersecretary in the Ministry of Education.

Gulf News and other newspapers had earlier published a report quoting Dubai's Attorney General Essam Eisa Al-Humaidan as saying that the Public Prosecution had referred a minister and his supposed associates to the Dubai Court of First Instance where they would be prosecuted.

The case had been filed by a Lebanese businesswoman.

"A woman allegedly accused the minister of breaching the trust of her family's business, including a huge property and a company based in Dubai," Al-Humaidan said.