Former Jordanian spy chief jailed over corruption charges

Monday 12 November 2012 11.49
King Abdullah of Jordan says he is committed to cracking down on corruption
King Abdullah of Jordan says he is committed to cracking down on corruption

Jordan's former spy chief, once one of the country's most feared and powerful officials, has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Retired General Mohammad al-Dahabi, who ran the country's intelligence agency from 2005 to 2009, was found guilty of money laundering, embezzlement and abuse of power.

He was also ordered to return $30m (€19m).

It was the first time a member of the political elite had been tried and jailed in a country where accusations of corruption are widespread and the security service wields huge power.

Dahabi's arrest last February and his trial which began in Amman a few months later were the most dramatic steps in an anti-graft campaign heralded as the largest ever in Jordan.

The drive launched by King Abdullah last year was seen as a response to Arab Spring-inspired demonstrations calling for greater political freedoms and an end to corruption.

Prosecutors said Dahabi's wealth had quadrupled during his years in office, reaching almost €25m by the end of 2011.

They also said Dahabi used intelligence department funds to design a palatial house, and received kickbacks from contractors.

Dahabi denied the charges. His supporters have said he is a political scapegoat.

Keywords: abdullah of jordan