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Son of ex-Senegalese leader charged with corruption

3 min

Karim Wade, the son of former Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade, was charged with corruption on Wednesday, following an investigation into the $1.4 billion fortune he acquired during his father's rule.


The son of Senegal's former leader Abdoulaye Wade was charged with corruption on Wednesday by detectives investigating his vast fortune, valued at more than $1 billion, his lawyer told AFP.

Karim Wade, who held a number of cabinet posts during his father's presidency, "has just been charged with illicit enrichment and placed in custody", said El Hadji Amadou Sall.

Wade is alleged to have acquired a number of foreign companies and real estate by corrupt means, including Dubai Port World, which runs the port container terminal in Senegal's capital Dakar and Moroccan bank BCME.

The 44-year-old's arrest on Monday came just hours after his legal team had filed a dossier of more than 2,000 pages in response to an order from the anti-corruption court to explain the provenance of assets allegedly worth over $1.4 billion (1.07 billion euros).

Wade, who was not present at the court, denies corruption and says his vast fortune is entirely legitimate.

Local press said Wade was detained along with a number of alleged "accomplices", including his former communications adviser, a businessman, a manager of an airport ground support company and an accountant.

Local media said preparations were underway to send him to Rebeuss, the main prison in Dakar.

Officials from Senegal's anti-corruption court on Tuesday set out the case against the former minister, a huge operation involving the movement of money through front organisations in tax havens across the world.

"This is real financial engineering that has been exposed, with frontmen and complex structures. We discovered key sectors of the economy held by offshore companies based in Panama, the British Virgin Islands and Luxembourg," said prosecutor Antoine Diome.

Wade denies corruption and his lawyers said Wednesday the prosecution had violated anti-corruption procedures by circumventing the country's high court and making public details of the investigation.

The former ruling Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) accuses the regime of Macky Sall, who defeated Wade's father in presidential elections last year, of conducting a "witch hunt" against the PDS hierarchy since it came to power.

Sall, who won a resounding victory in a March 2012 poll marred by violence over the octogenarian's efforts to seek a third term in office, launched a number of audits into the finances of political rivals shortly after his inauguration.

Several leaders of the 2000-2012 Wade regime, including his son, have been repeatedly questioned by police and judges investigating allegations of "illegal enrichment".

Karim Wade is also under investigation in France following a complaint by the Senegalese government over the alleged embezzlement of public funds, misuse of corporate assets and corruption, according to a judicial source.

After he was last questioned by police in November, he was banned from leaving Senegal along with six other officials from the former regime.




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