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Gbagbo, Wife Charged With Economic Crimes

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Aug. 19 (UPI) — Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the central bank in an attempt to stay in power, investigators said.

As a result, Gbagbo and his wife, Simone, have been charged with looting, armed robbery and embezzlement, the BBC reported.

Gbagbo is also suspected of ordering the death of supporters of his opponent in last year’s election, the report said.

By filing less serious charges, Ivory Coast prosecutor Simplice Kouadio Koffi is leaving the door open for the International Criminal Court to file war crimes against the former president, the BBC said.

The Gbagbos have been under house arrest since April and are being held in different locations in Ivory Coast.

The charges against the Gbagbos are tied to the period after November’s election, when he refused to cede power to new President Alassane Ouattara.

The ICC was said to be considering charges against the ex-president.

Some 3,000 people were killed in violence related to the run up to the election and the weeks following, when Gbagbo holed up and used his army to keep Quattara’s supporters at bay; another 500,000 were displaced.

The Ivorian government asked for the ICC’s involvement, the BBC said.

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