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Myanmar Crisis

Myanmar charges tycoon close to Suu Kyi's party with graft

Eden Group founder Chit Khine is National League for Democracy supporter

Eden Group Chairman Chit Khine, seen here in a 2016 photo, was detained on April 25 after returning to Myanmar from a trip overseas, according to local media. (Photo by Kentaro Iwamoto)

BANGKOK -- A prominent Myanmar businessman with ties to Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has been charged with corruption, a state-run newspaper reported Wednesday.

Chit Khine had been an active member of the NLD before founding Eden Group, one of Myanmar's leading conglomerates, in 1990. He was targeted by U.S. and European sanctions under Myanmar's last military government, but emerged as major supporter to the NLD after it took control of Myanmar in 2016.

According to the report, an anti-corruption probe by Myanmar's military government found Chit Khine to have colluded with officials to pay lower taxes and fees on his coal mining business, which resulted in the loss of state funds. The business is operated jointly with the government, and supplies coal to a key Myanmar power plant.

Chit Khine was detained on Monday after returning to Myanmar from a trip overseas, local media report. The energy and natural resource ministers from Suu Kyi's ousted civilian government have also been charged with corruption in connection to the case.

Eden Group's portfolio spans from hotels and banking to energy. It has close ties with overseas companies, including a joint fertilizer plant with Japan's Mitsui & Co. and other partners.

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