Sudan court charges ousted President Omar al-Bashir with illegal use of foreign funds
- Bashir, wearing a traditional white gown, admitted to receiving the equivalent of USD 25 million from Saudi royals
- The former Sudanese leader is also wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague over his role in mass killings in the western region of Darfur
Khartoum : A Sudanese court on Saturday charged ousted President Omar al-Bashir, on trial for corruption, with illegal acquisition and use of foreign funds, offences which could put him behind bars for a decade.
Judge Al-Sadiq Abdelrahman said at the third session of Bashir's trial that foreign funds of multiple currencies were found at his home. ``Authorities had seized 6.9 million euros, USD 351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds at (Bashir's) home which he acquired and used illegally," the judge said.
Bashir, wearing a traditional white gown and headdress and seated in a metal cage, admitted to receiving the equivalent of USD 25 million from Saudi royals.
"My office manager... received a call from the office of Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman saying he has a 'message' that will be sent on a private jet,'' Bashir said during the trial.
"We were told that the Crown Prince did not want his name to appear (linked to the transaction)... and if the funds were deposited with Sudan's bank or the finance ministry, the source would have to be identified," he said. The former President, 75, also said that "the funds were not used for his own private interest, but as donations".
The judge said illegal acquisition of wealth was punishable by up to 10 years in jail, while illicit use of foreign funds carried up to three years. An investigator had previously told the court that Bashir received USD 90 million in cash from Saudi royals.
Hashem Abu Bakr, Bashir's lawyer, said on Saturday that his client was "not guilty" and that witnesses would be brought to court. The trial was adjourned until September 7, said an AFP correspondent who attended the session.
Bashir was ousted in April after mass protests against his three-decade rule rocked Sudan for months.