The Myanmar construction tycoon spoke in a faltering monotone, blinking fast and gulping occasionally for air. He said that over the past several years he had handed a total of $550,000 to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader of Myanmar who was ousted in a military coup last month.
On two occasions, he had provided $100,000 and $150,000, the businessman said in a confessional statement broadcast on a military television network Wednesday night. In the English subtitles, the money had been handed over in a “black envelope.” In Burmese, the description had him presenting the money, meant to enhance his business ties, in a paper gift bag.
Either way, the envelope or gift bag would have been very large to hold that much cash.
The televised statement by U Maung Weik, a military crony who was once imprisoned for drug trafficking, appears to be the latest act in an intricately planned effort to impugn Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi.
Before elections in November, an online campaign amplified by pro-military groups raised a litany of unproven allegations against the civilian leader, who had shared power with the military for five years. Once her party won a landslide victory, military-linked forces stepped up their attacks on her, calling her corrupt and under the influence of foreigners.
a digital forensics investigation found.
Myanmar’s envoy to the United Nations, who gave an impassioned speech last month decrying the military’s seizure of power.
On Wednesday, the last of Myanmar’s major independent newspapers ceased publication. More than 30 journalists have been detained or pursued by authorities since the coup. The country, for decades under the military’s fist, is rapidly losing whatever democratic reforms had been introduced over the past few years.