Jordan king's fugitive uncle sentenced to more than 37 years' jail for corruption

AMMAN (AFP) - A Jordanian court sentenced a fugitive uncle of King Abdullah II on Wednesday to 37 years and six months in prison with hard labour and a massive fine on two charges of abuse of office, a judicial official said.

The court also ordered Walid Kurdi, who was tried in absentia, to pay a fine of 284.4 million dinars (S$503 million), the official told Agence France-Presse.

Kurdi is married to Princess Basma, sister of King Abdullah's father, the late King Hussein.

He is the former chief executive of the Jordan Phosphate Mines Co, one of the world's largest suppliers.

"Kurdi, who is on the run now in Britain, was convicted of abuse of office in two cases related to sales and shipping deals, estimated at around 31 million dinars," the official said, without elaborating.

In January, the court ordered Kurdi's assets frozen on suspicion of corruption.

Last year, a court sentenced former spy chief Mohammed Dahabi to 13 years in jail with hard labour and ordered him to pay a fine of 21 million dinars after convicting him of corruption.

Fighting corruption is one of the main challenges identified by the King to meet the demands of Jordanians for sweeping reforms.