September 13, 2017 / 8:53 PM / 11 days ago

Mauritius attorney general steps down amid money laundering probe

PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - The attorney general of the island nation of Mauritius stepped down on Wednesday after allegations he had helped launder gambling money.

Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth told reporters he wanted an investigation into Ravi Yerrigadoo to be conducted transparently.

The Indian Ocean island markets itself as a link between Africa and Asia and is striving to move from an economy mostly based on sugar, textiles and tourism towards offshore banking, business outsourcing, luxury real estate and medical tourism. A scandal could hurt its burgeoning financial services industry.

“If Ravi Yerrigadoo is cleared he will be able to resume office,” Jugnauth said.

Mauritius-based L’Express newspaper reported on Wednesday that an affidavit had been filed before the Supreme Court accusing Yerrigadoo of trying to facilitate the transfer of gambling money through a financial structure. It was not clear who had filed the affidavit.

In a statement, Yerrigadoo denied the allegations and said he had quit to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest while the investigation was in progress.    

In March 2016, the environment minister was also forced to resign over corruption allegations.

reporting by Jean Paul Arouff; writing by Katharine Houreld; editing by Ralph Boulton

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