Former Ivory Coast rebel leader Guillaume Soro fined $7m

The Ivorian presidential candidate and former rebel leader, Guillaume Soro, has been convicted in absentia of embezzlement and sentenced to 20 years in jail.

He was fined the equivalent of $7.4m (£6m) and barred from civic duties for five years.

The trial was boycotted by Mr Soro’s lawyers who said the allegations against him were political and aimed at excluding him from this year’s presidential poll.

Mr Soro, who lives in Paris, was accused of using public money to buy a house in the commercial capital, Abidjan.

The property has been confiscated by the court.

The former rebel leader has also been accused of plotting a coup against President Alassane Ouattara who is due to leave office this year.

Mr Soro, who has served as prime minister, retains the loyalty of former rebel commanders who now hold senior positions within the military.

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