Sacked Bahraini minister demands "senior official" testimony
Bahrain's former minister of state, Mansoor bin Rajab, facing charges of money laundering, has demanded that a "senior Bahraini official" be questioned by the prosecution to help clear his name, dpa reported.
Bin Rajab was temporarily detained by authorities last week after he was accused of money laundering that was linked to arm deals and drug trafficking, according to the prosecution.
Neither Bin Rajab, who was sacked from his cabinet seat on Monday, nor his defense team would name the official they want questioned, as they emerged from the public prosecutor's office late Wednesday, following six hours of questioning session by prosecutors.
"Bin Rajab had clarified some of the circumstances surrounding the accusations brought against him, and this official was aware of the facts pertaining to these circumstances and all that took place before this case reached the public prosecution because of his position," lawyer Abdulrahman Ghaniem said. "That is why it is critical that (the other official) also be questioned."
Independent sources had suggested that the official in question is a cabinet minister.
A statement issued by the public prosecution office and quoting Prosecutor Abdul Rahman al-Sayed said that they had faced Bin Rajab with a portion of the recordings that authorities compiled during the course of the investigation that proved that meetings between him and other defendants had taken place.
The statement indicated that the length of the recordings and the time they consumed prompted prosecutors to postpone further hearing of the recordings until Thursday.
"The recordings were not clear; some of the people on it are unidentifiable. My client had denied any knowledge of these conversations taking place and said that they appear to have been fabricated," Ghaniem said.
The five-member legal team representing bin Rajab insisted that none of the evidence presented so far over the course of the two days was enough to charge their client.
The case marks the first time a Gulf country has moved to prosecute a senior official for alleged criminal activity in office.