Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to five years in jail today, the latest in a series of convictions in junta-supervised trials.
Today’s verdict against the deposed leader related to corruption charges involving former Yangon Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein, who testified that he bribed her with US$600,000 (MMK1.1 million) and gold bars.
Tacked onto previous convictions the new sentence adds up to 11 years in prison for the 76-year-old state counsellor, who still awaits trial on other charges.
In a related development, Chit Khaing, a top business tycoon, was arrested Monday for allegedly embezzling state funds under Suu Kyi’s administration. He was charged with corruption in Naypyidaw today, according to the junta’s Anti-Corruption Committee.
The junta has been trying to use the cases to justify its coup d’etat and damage the reputation of Suu Kyi, who remains broadly popular. Her supporters consider the case politically motivated and subject to military interference.
Chit Khaing was detained after returning from Bangkok, according to his associates. He owns one of Myanmar’s largest energy companies and hundreds of Denko Petrol stations across the country. He is the second top businessman to be arrested since the coup. He donated $ 1.5 million to acquire COVID-19 vaccines prior to the coup.
Military spokesperson Gen. Zaw Min Tun said six people, including Chit Khaing, were found to have committed tax fraud costing the state over MMK15.9 billion (US$8.6 million) among other allegations.
“All of them are currently being held at the police station and are under investigation,” Tun said last night.
Many former ministers of the civilian government have been arrested and charged under anti-corruption laws.