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Jordanian ex-spy chief gets 13 years in prison

AMMAN, Jordan — A Jordanian criminal court sentenced the kingdom’s former intelligence chief to 13 years and three months in prison on Sunday for embezzlement of public funds, money laundering, and abuse of office.

It was the harshest sentence in years against such a high-profile personality in Jordan.

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Presiding judge Nashaat Akhras also demanded in court that defendant Mohammed al-Dahabi pay about $30 million in fines to the state and return money he allegedly laundered and embezzled during his 2005-2008 tenure as head of Jordanian intelligence. The judge said the amount is estimated at $34 million.

‘‘You deserve the harshest punishment for being a traitor to the people who trusted you with a government position and state funds,’’ Akhras told the former official. Dahabi stood silently in the dock as the verdict was read.

His lawyer, Mahmoud Kilani, said that he will appeal.

Dahabi was arrested in February, when inspectors at the Central Bank of Jordan suspected transactions worth millions of dollars had gone through his bank account.

The rare case against a senior official is meant to show Jordan’s seriousness in efforts to tackle graft and corruption — a demand expressed during recent street protests.

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