Mozambican denies US drug charges

2010-06-03 22:05

Maputo - A Mozambican businessman on Wednesday denied accusations of drug trafficking, after the United States accused him of funnelling narcotics across southern Africa and moved to freeze his assets.

"It is a false accusation. Never in my life have I been involved in this type of business dealings," Mohamed Bachir Suleman told a news conference, according to the state-owned Mozambican press agency AIM.

Suleman owns Maputo's poshest shopping mall and is an influential member of the southern African country's ruling party Frelimo, but he was tagged as a drug kingpin by US President Barack Obama in a letter to the US Congress.

Four others were also on the list, including Ousmane Conte, the son of late Guinean president Lansana Conte.

Shortly after Obama's announcement, the US Treasury announced Bachir's US assets would be frozen.

"Mohamed Bachir Suleman is a large-scale narcotics trafficker in Mozambique, and his network contributes to the growing trend of narcotics trafficking and related money laundering across southern Africa," said Adam Szubin, head of the Treasury's office of foreign asset control.

Suleman said the sanctions would not influence his business operations.

"I have no interests abroad. All my investments are here in Mozambique," he said.