Tag Archives: Former

Trial opens of Egypt’s former agriculture minister accused of taking bribes

CAIRO Dec 12 Egypt’s former agriculture minister Salah El Din Mahmoud Helal on Saturday told a court he was innocent at the opening of his trial for allegedly taking bribes from a businessman in exchange for licenses to develop state-owned land.

Helal, who was appointed to the post in March 2015 under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, was arrested in September minutes after resigning.

The prosecution said on Saturday that Helal and his office manager had accepted bribes including a luxury residence, membership of an exclusive sports club, clothes from higher-end style shops, and mobile phones.

Helal’s workplace manager also denies any wrongdoing, but the businessman has confessed to bribing the pair, and an intermediary charged with facilitating the deal has also stated he was guilty.

The court adjourned the trial until Jan. 9 when it will hear the testimonies of witnesses.

Egypt ranked 94th out of 175 countries on Transparency International’s 2014 corruption perceptions index. The country’s 2011 uprising was partially driven by a wish to finish entrenched corruption beneath autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak. (Reporting by Haithem Ahmad and Mohamed Abdellah Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

China to prosecute former atmosphere official for graft

BEIJING Chinese authorities will prosecute a former atmosphere official for corruption after an investigation identified he took bribes and accepted invites from firm executives to play golf, the Environment Ministry stated on Friday.

Xiong Yuehui was head of a technological standards division at the ministry until he became topic of a corruption probe in August.

An investigation by graft inspectors identified Xiong actively sought to hamper the probe, forming a “conspiracy of silence” with other people, breaking celebration discipline rules and covering up his individual affairs, the ministry’s discipline physique said.

He employed his position to “seek positive aspects” for other folks, and took gifts like cash, the ministry mentioned in a statement released by the ruling Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Xiong “a lot of instances went to private clubs and accepted invitations from company bosses to play golf”, it added.

It was not feasible to reach Xiong for comment and unclear if he has a lawyer.

Tales of corruption and officials’ higher living, including extravagant banquets and expensive rounds on golf courses, have stirred widespread public anger due to the fact bureaucrats are meant to live on modest sums and lead morally exemplary lives.

In October, the party for the very first time listed golf as a discipline violation as it tightened guidelines to quit officials engaging in corrupt practices.

Private clubs have also been a target of President Xi Jinping’s sweeping battle against deep-seated corruption due to their reputation in China as places exactly where shady dealings or sexual liaisons are carried out by an extravagant elite.

Xiong has been formally removed from his position and his case handed over to legal authorities, the ministry said, which means he will be prosecuted.

The Environment Ministry is at the forefront of government efforts to tackle the country’s critical pollution issue, which includes the smog that often covers China’s major cities.

In July, the government announced a corruption probe into a former deputy atmosphere minister, Zhang Lijun. There has been no news of him considering that.

In February, China’s primary anti-graft body reprimanded the ministry for a series of troubles, like interference by ministry officials and their relatives in environmental influence assessments.

Environmental degradation is one particular of China’s most serious concerns and a very sensitive one particular also, with thousands of protests each year sparked by concern about pollution, particularly from factories.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard Editing by Michael Perry)

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Former ally of jailed China official in very good health shortly before death: report

BEIJING A 44-year-old former organization ally of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai was in very good wellness in jail shortly just before he died of a heart attack, a Chinese on the internet news outlet reported, adding to the mystery more than his death.

Xu Ming, founder of plastics-to-house conglomerate Dalian Shide Group, died on Friday in prison in the central province of Hubei, according to Prism, an on-line news portal run by Tencent, China’s biggest social network.

Just two months before, for the duration of September’s Mid-Autumn Festival, he told household and close friends that he was in excellent well being and fine mental state and exercised from time to time, a buddy told Prism in a report carried on Wednesday.

The government has provided no explanation for Xu’s death. Prism’s report was picked up by other Chinese news portals and has not been removed from the Net, as can occur with sensitive stories.

Requests for comment from the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Public Security went unanswered. Reuters has also not been able to attain family members for comment.

Xu’s family members was told that Xu had a heart attack when using the toilet, fell to the ground and died, the buddy told Prism.

It took several hours for the household to be notified, the friend added, according to the report.

The trial of Xu, listed by Forbes as China’s eighth-richest particular person in 2005, had been shrouded in secrecy. It was never ever created public when he was arrested, indicted and convicted. His prison term was unknown.

Xu was scheduled to be released from prison in September 2016, according to Hong Kong-primarily based Phoenix tv.

Xu’s relationship with Bo became a focus a couple of years ago when the politician was probed for corruption.

Bo was ousted as Communist Celebration boss of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing and from the party’s choice-producing Politburo in 2012. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 for corruption and abuse of power.

Throughout Bo’s trial in 2013, the court stated Bo was charged with getting about 21.eight million yuan ($ three.39 million) in bribes from Xu.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Deposed former Central African Republic ruler Bozize barred from elections

BANGUI Central African Republic’s (Auto) former president Francois Bozize, forced into exile two years ago, was not on the list of eligible candidates for this month’s elections, getting said in August that he would return to stand.

The polls were set for Oct. 18 but postponed till Dec. 27 soon after violence in the capital Bangui that has killed about 100 individuals considering that September. A single particular person was killed on the outskirts of a Muslim enclave shortly soon after the Pope’s visit final month.

Automobile was mired in violence soon after Bozize fled to Cameroon in 2013 when Seleka fighters seized energy in the majority-Christian nation, sparking reprisals by “anti-balaka” Christian militias loyal to Bozize. He was accused of stoking the attacks.

The government that succeeded him issued an international arrest warrant against him in 2013 for crimes against humanity and incitement to genocide throughout his ten years in energy. He also faces U.N. travel and banking sanctions.

The president of the constitutional court, Zacharie Ndoumba, incorporated Bozize on the list of rejected candidates but state media stated he had not registered.

A spokesman for Bozize’s Kwa Na Kwa celebration said the court had told them Bozize had not furnished proof of enrollment for the electoral list.

“We deplore the deleterious climate in which the constitutional court has worked,” celebration spokesman, Christian Guenebem, mentioned. “This choice is the outcome of internal and external pressure.”

Of 42 submissions validated by the constitutional court, thirty candidates were authorized to stand, most as independents.

Human Rights Watch researcher, Lewis Mudge, stated: “(This saga) shouldn’t end with him becoming excluded from the list.”

“It need to end with an investigation completed for crimes he could have committed … and groups he may possibly have supported.”

(Reporting by Crispin Dembassa-Kette Added reporting by Sebastien Lamba in Bangui Writing by Makini Brice Editing by Louise Ireland)

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Former Australian treasurer Hockey named ambassador to Washington

SYDNEY Cigar-chomping former Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey was named ambassador to the United States on Tuesday at a time of intense cooperation on issues from the fight against Islamic State militants to Chinese assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific area.

Hockey resigned from parliament following a September party coup that saw conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott ousted as leader of the ruling Liberal Celebration in favor of Malcolm Turnbull, a progressive former investment banker.

Australian media speculated that Hockey was given the position in Washington, regarded as perhaps the best diplomatic posting, to sideline him from domestic politics.

Hockey’s tenure as treasurer was a rocky one particular that will most likely be greatest remembered for a politically disastrous austerity price range handed down in 2014, from which many felt Abbott’s government never completely recovered.

Although Hockey inherited a slowing economy, he was observed by many to have performed poorly in the function, major to criticism in the media that he could not be qualified to manage Australia’s most important diplomatic connection.

“Our Alliance with the United Sates is the bedrock of foreign and defense policy and we are working closely with each other on shared regional and international safety, strategic and financial interests,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop mentioned in a statement announcing Hockey’s appointment.

Australia is currently conducting air strikes against Islamic State militants in both Iraq and Syria as portion of the U.S.-led military coalition against the radical group, which has seized huge swaths of territory in the Middle East.

(Reporting by Matt Siegel Editing by Michael Perry)

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Pearl Harbor ceremony unites former U.S. and Japanese pilots

HONOLULU Former U.S. airman Jack DeTour, 92, and Japanese fighter pilot Shiro Wakita, 88, sworn enemies in the course of Planet War Two, collectively poured whiskey from a battered canteen into Pearl Harbor on Sunday to commemorate the 1941 attack on the U.S. naval base.

As the sun rose over the USS Arizona Memorial, the two former enemy pilots joined the “Blackened Canteen” service on the eve of the 74th anniversary of the Dec. 7 attack, which took two,403 lives and drew the United States into Globe War Two.

Standing side by side following meeting for the 1st time ever, retired Air Force Colonel DeTour and former Imperial Japanese Navy Zero Pilot Wakita together gripped the war-torn U.S. military-concern metal canteen and poured whiskey into the watery grave of the U.S. Navy ship sunk by Japanese bombers.

Now a symbol of friendship, the scorched war relic was recovered in 1945 in Shizuoka, Japan after two B-29 U.S. bombers collided overhead. The 23 Americans killed were buried alongside Japanese citizens who died in the bombing raid. Located among the wreckage was the blackened canteen, filled with whiskey, and it was kept in Japan to don’t forget loved ones lost.

Because the 1980s, Japanese residents have routinely brought it to Pearl Harbor for the ceremony aimed at keeping peace.

“To know we have this friendship is excellent. It is fantastic,” stated DeTour, who wore a purple flower lei more than his dark suit.

DeTour now lives in Honolulu and was a young man from Oregon when he joined the military in 1942.

There were no Pearl Harbor survivors among the Planet War Two veterans attending this year’s canteen ceremony, mentioned Gary Meyers, spokesman for the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

The final surviving officer from the USS Arizona, Joseph Langdell, died on Feb. four in California at age one hundred. An internment service for Langdell, who was a 27-year-old ensign sleeping in quarters on shore when the surprise attack was launched, will take place at Pearl Harbor on Monday.

At the canteen ceremony, Dr. Hiroya Sugano, director of the Zero Fighter Admirers’ Club, stated he keeps the canteen in his possession and carries it to the ceremony each and every year due to the fact it is a potent symbol.

“The blackened canteen is an inspiration for peace,” said Sugano.

(Writing by Barbara Goldberg in New York Editing by Andrew Hay)

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Exclusive: Burkina charges former coup leader over murder of Sankara

OUAGADOUGOU Authorities in Burkina Faso have charged a general who led a failed coup in September with complicity in the 1987 assassination of President Thomas Sankara, senior security sources told Reuters.

Sankara’s murder is one of the most high-profile killings in Africa’s post-independence history and the charge against General Gilbert Diendere appears to represent a breakthrough in a case that has haunted the West African country for decades.

It follows a pledge by the transitional government to investigate the murder and a decision in May to exhume the remains of a body believed to be Sankara’s, which was buried at a cemetery on the outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou.

“General Gilbert Diendere is formally charged in the Thomas Sankara case,” said a senior security source with direct knowledge of the case. Diendere was charged last month with complicity in assassination and attack, the source said.

Diendere’s lawyer, Mathieu Some, told Reuters on Sunday his client had been charged over Sankara’s death and he would prepare his legal defense. The charges are yet to be made public.

Ten others, less senior than Diendere, have already been charged. The senior security official said most were soldiers in the elite presidential guard of former President Blaise Compaore, who was ousted in October 2014.

Diendere was Compaore’s intelligence chief and right-hand man. In September, he led the presidential guard in a short-lived coup in which soldiers took transitional President Michel Kafando and the prime minister hostage.

The coup failed and in its aftermath, the presidential guard was disbanded and Diendere sought refuge at the Vatican embassy. He was then arrested and charged with murder and threatening state security. He is still in detention.

“AFRICA’S CHE GUEVARA”

Sankara took power in a coup in 1983 and pursued a philosophy of Marxism and pan-Africanism that led him to be called “Africa’s Che Guevara”.

Many African intellectuals view him as a visionary on a par with Congo’s first prime minister Patrice Lumumba, who was murdered in 1961, or South African anti-apartheid leader Steve Biko, who was killed in 1977.

He nationalized land and mineral wealth, moved to improve health and education, pressed for debt reduction, promoted women into leadership and changed the country’s name from Upper Volta. The changes made an impact on Burkina Faso, a landlocked country that produces gold and cotton but remains impoverished.

Sankara was known for his trademark red beret and rejection of the lavish lifestyle typical of African leaders. In October 1987, he was murdered in a coup that brought Compaore to power.

Compaore reversed many of Sankara’s policies and established a reputation as one of the region’s most powerful men but mystery surrounding the killing dogged him, not least because attempts to mount a judicial investigation during his tenure stalled.

Compaore was toppled by protesters who opposed his bid to change the constitution so that he could extend his rule.

The charges against Diendere come at a critical moment for Burkina Faso as it makes a democratic transition that is seen as an example for other African states.

Voters elected former Prime Minister Roch Marc Kabore as president a week ago and when sworn in he will be the country’s first new leader in decades.

Kabore was an ally of Compaore who went into opposition in early 2014. The election was key for a nation ruled by leaders who came to power in coups for most of its history since independence from France in 1960.

(Additional reporting by Joe Penney; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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Azerbaijan arrests former head of the largest bank

BAKU Police have arrested a former head of Azerbaijan’s greatest bank on suspicion of fraud and misappropriation of public funds, the interior ministry stated on Saturday.

Jakhangir Gajiyev resigned earlier this year as the head of the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA), the only state-owned bank, accounting for 35 % of banking assets in the oil-generating former Soviet republic,.

A court in Baku ordered Gajiyev to be detained for three months, pending trial.

Although the finance ministry holds a 51 % share in the bank, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev has ordered IBA’s privatization in line with guidance from the International Monetary Fund.

(Reporting by Nailia Bagirova Writing by Margarita Antidze Editing by Richard Balmforth)

Former government official facing corruption charges returns to China

BEIJING A former Chinese government official facing corruption charges who had fled to the United States has provided herself up and returned to China, the ruling Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog said on Saturday.

Huang Yurong, a former party head at the highway agency in Henan province, returned to China following 13 years in the United States, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) mentioned on its internet site.

The government earlier this year unveiled an initiative referred to as “Sky Net” to better coordinate its fight to return corrupt officials and published a list of one hundred graft suspects, including Huang Yurong, believed to be abroad and subject to an Interpol “red notice” – the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant.

Huang said she believed she had produced the right decision to return to China and she would actively participate in the judicial investigations, the CCDI mentioned.

No explanation for her return was offered.

China changed its techniques in its worldwide hunt for fugitives wanted at residence for corruption, after complaints from nations that objected to Beijing’s practice of sending investigators to track them down, a best Chinese anti-corruption official told Reuters in November.

Western nations have balked at signing extradition offers with China, partly out of concern about its judicial program. Rights groups say Chinese authorities use torture and that the death penalty is frequent in corruption circumstances.

China 1st succeeded in receiving a particular person back from the United States who was on the list of 100 wanted corruption suspects in September this year when Yang Jinjun, the common manager of a company in Wenzhou city, returned to southeastern China.

(Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong and Huang Kai Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Former Liverpool defender Byrne dies

Former Liverpool and England defender Gerry Byrne, a member of the 1966 Globe Cup-winning squad, has died aged 77.

Byrne’s former club Liverpool announced the passing of their former left-back, who made 333 appearances for the Reds.

He played in the 1965 FA Cup final win more than Leeds United when he broke his collarbone three minutes into the game and crossed for the Reds’ very first objective.

Byrne was also portion of Liverpool’s League Championship winning sides in 1963-64 and 1965-66.

In 2009, Byrne and his fellow non-playing squad members from the 1966 Planet Cup were presented with winners’ medals in a Downing Street ceremony, following a adjust in policy by world governing body Fifa.

Byrne created his Liverpool debut in September 1957 soon after coming by means of the club’s ranks and his final Reds outing was in 1969.

“The Liverpool-born defender was a model of consistency at left-back beneath Bill Shankly and a testament to his reputation was evident as 40,000 supporters have been at Anfield for his testimonial in April 1970,” Liverpool stated in a statement.

Gerry Byrne and Ronnie Moran celebrate winning the league championship in 1963-64

Gerry Byrne (left) and Ronnie Moran celebrate winning the league championship in 1963-64

Gerry Byrne engulfed by Liverpool fans after the 1965 FA cup semi-final

Byrne is engulfed by Liverpool fans soon after beating Chelsea in the 1965 FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park

Liverpool celebrate winning the 1965 FA Cup

Byrne (back row, far left) lifts the lid of the FA Cup as Liverpool celebrate the first time they won the competitors – beating Leeds in the 1965 final

Liverpool players on train after 1965 FA Cup final

Wearing a sling, Byrne sits with group-mates Geoff Robust, Tommy Smith, Ronnie Moran, Ian Callaghan and Roger Hunt as they travel back to Liverpool following the 1965 FA Cup final