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Senegal ex-president’s son Karim Wade jailed in graft case

Karim Wade in Dakar, capital of Senegal, Dec. 30, 2010/XINHUA-File

Karim Wade in Dakar, capital of Senegal, Dec. 30, 2010/XINHUA-File

DAKAR, Senegal, Mar 23 – Karim Wade, the flamboyant son of Senegal’s former president Abdoulaye Wade, was sentenced Monday to six years in jail in a graft case that has gripped the nation.

The presidential hopeful and former minister was found guilty of “illicit enrichment” and also fined the equivalent of more than 210 million euros ($230 million) but was cleared of the main corruption charge.

The 46-year-old had gone on trial in June 2014 charged with illegally acquiring companies and a large amount of real estate while serving in various government posts during his father’s 2000-2012 presidency.

Wade, who has been in custody since April 2013, denied the charges against him.

Prosecutors had sought a seven-year prison term and a fine of 380 million euros.

The verdict comes just two days after Wade was chosen by Senegal’s once ruling Democratic Party to be its candidate in the next presidential election.

After pursuing a successful career in finance in the City of London, Karim Wade returned to Senegal two years after his father’s 2000 presidential victory, and was soon tapped for a series of increasingly important public positions.

Those included simultaneous appointments to several key portfolios, earning him the nickname “minister of heaven and Earth.”

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