Last updated: 1 December, 2011

Millions deposited in Kuwaiti MP bank accounts

Millions of dollars have been deposited suspiciously into the bank accounts of 15 Kuwaiti MPs suspected of money laundering, reports citing informed sources said on Thursday.

The central bank told prosecutors that bank accounts held by the 15 lawmakers “have received suspicious deposits and the anti-money laundering law applies to them,” Al-Jarida newspaper reported.

But the central bank said in statement that any reports of suspected money laundering are prepared by the Kuwait Financial Intelligence Unit and not the bank.

The unit, attached to the finance ministry, “provides the prosecutor … with its technical viewpoint on such operations,” the bank said in the statement cited by the official KUNA news agency.

The bank denied it had implicated anyone in suspected money laundering operations, saying crimes can only be established by the public prosecution and not the central bank.

In September, the public prosecutor launched an unprecedented probe into the bank accounts of the 15 lawmakers after three banks reported that large deposits were added to the accounts from unknown sources.

The case was one of several issues that forced former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to resign this week.

Al-Jarida said the prosecutor planned to ask parliament to lift the immunity of the suspected MPs in order to question them on the source of the money.

The opposition has alleged that the funds, estimated at $350 million, were paid by the government to secure votes on crucial issues, including motions of no-confidence against the premier and his ministers.

The Kuwaiti government has denied the allegations.

Al-Jarida said the largest deposit for one MP was $7.3 million and $18.2 million in his wife’s account. No names were published in the report but media had published some names in September.