Myanmar’s overthrown leader Aung San Suu Kyi is set to face new charges of corruption from the generals who seized power in a coup on February 1, as protesters fighting to restore democracy face increasing isolation behind a mobile data blackout.
The 75-year-old Nobel laureate, who was taken into custody along with other top aides as the military took control of the country, has already been charged with owning unlicensed walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions.
On Wednesday night, the military broadcaster Myawady aired a video of a Myanmar businessman confessing to giving her a total of $550,000 over several years.
Maung Weik, a property developer, said he had donated money to senior government figures for the good of his business.
“Aung San Suu Kyi committed corruption and (authorities) are preparing to charge her according to anti-corruption law,” an announcer said during the broadcast.
This is not the first time corruption allegations have been lodged against her.
Last week a military spokesman said a now-detained chief minister had admitted to giving her $600,000 and more than 10 kilogrammes (22 pounds) of gold bars.
Her lawyers have dismissed the allegations.
“Those accusations are groundless and illogical,” Suu Kyi’s lawyer Khin Maung Zaw told AFP news agency.
“Aung San Suu Kyi may have her defects… but bribery and corruption are not her traits,” he said, adding that most people in Myanmar would not believe the allegations.
Myanmar has been plunged into chaos by the military’s move to seize power, as hundreds of thousands of people refuse to work and others take to the streets in a mass civil disobedience movement to restore democracy and secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected leaders.