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Myanmar junta accuses Suu Kyi of tax evasion

The junta has accused the democracy icon of tax evasion for not spending her Nobel prize money ($1.43 mn) inside the country.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2007 15:36 IST

Myanmar's military junta has accused democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been in prison or under house arrest for 11 of the past 17 years, of tax evasion for not spending her Nobel Peace Prize money inside the country.

"She avoided paying taxes to the State by asking her family members abroad to spend all her cash awards provided by international organisations and honorariums presented for her works she had created abroad instead of spending the money in the country," the official New Light of Myanmar said on Thursday.

The paper, a mouthpiece of the former Burma's ruling generals, said the 61-year-old opposition leader was lucky to be under house arrest and not in jail for her criticism of the army and its long-running attempts to write a new constitution.

"It was very considerate of the government to put only restriction on her, instead of punishing her in accordance with law," the paper said in an English-language editorial.

Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party won a landslide election victory in 1990 which the military ignored, received the Nobel Peace Prize in October 1991 while under house arrest.

The award is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.43 million).

Suu Kyi was married to Oxford academic Michael Aris, who died of cancer in Britain in 1999. She was unable to attend his funeral for fear she would not be allowed back into Myanmar. Her two sons live in Britain.

Myanmar has been under military rule of one form or another since 1962, during which time the economy has collapsed.

First Published: Jan 18, 2007 15:36 IST