Bahrain arrests two nationals paid by Qatar to influence elections

Authorities said the pair had received payments from former Qatari minister Abdullah bin Khalid Al Thani

FILE PHOTO: Bahrain Financial Harbour (L) and Bahrain World Trade Center are are seen in diplomatic area in Manama, Bahrain, February 28, 2018. Picture taken February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo
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Bahrain has arrested two of its nationals accused of receiving money from Qatar to influence upcoming parliamentary elections in the country.

A criminal investigation has been launched by Bahrain’s public prosecution, attorney general Dr Ahmed Al Hammadi confirmed on Wednesday.

Bahrain News Agency said the two suspects had been paid money into their bank accounts by former Qatari minister Abdullah bin Khalid Al Thani and made visits to Qatar to receive cash payments.

The accused were arrested at Bahrain International Airport with large sums of undeclared money in their possession: BD 12,000 and 500 Qatari Riyals.

“Investigations showed that one of the two nationals received from the Qatari former minister sums of money to run for the parliamentary elections set to be held this year and to support his electoral campaign,” the statement on news agency’s website read.

It added that the probe into how the suspects received the money and the motive behind financing such an electoral campaign had “revealed that the aim was to undermine the national interests by interfering in the internal affairs of the kingdom and influencing the work of the legislative institutions to serve the Qatari antagonistic goals”.

Authorities said recorded phone calls between the nationals, obtained by judicial permission had confirmed the findings of the investigation.


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