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Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Saturday, 30 May 2009 13:56 UK

Dramatic plane arrest of ex-Iraq minister

Abdul Falah Sudani (L) as Iraqi trade minister, at a meeting in Baghdad with the UK Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, 6 April 2009
Mr Sudani (L) offered to resign as trade minister on Monday

Iraq's former trade minister has been arrested at Baghdad airport on corruption charges as he was trying to leave the country.

Officials said Abdul Falah Sudani had been on a flight to the United Arab Emirates which was asked to turn back to Baghdad so he could be arrested.

Mr Sudani resigned as minister earlier this month amid claims officials in his department had embezzled large sums.

He denies wrongdoing. Investigators had already arrested one of his brothers.

Sabah Mohammed Sudani was held on suspicion of corruption at a checkpoint in the south of the country on 9 May.

Bribery allegations

Abdul Falah Sudani offered to stand down as trade minister over the allegations on 14 May; his resignation was eventually accepted by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki on Monday following scrutiny of the case by MPs.

Sabah Saedi, head of Iraq's anti-corruption watchdog, the Commission on Public Integrity, told reporters Mr Sudani had been aboard a flight heading to Dubai when the plane was ordered to bring him back.

Earlier this week, the Commission on Public Integrity said arrest warrants had been issued for some 1,000 allegedly corrupt officials.

Few details were disclosed, but the watchdog said at least 50 were senior figures.

The commission has previously said the most serious complaints concern the trade ministry, where officials allegedly took bribes for contracts.



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