Top Jordanian politicians arrested on corruption charges

Jordan’s state security court has arrested several high-profile politicians on charges of illegal tobacco production, smuggling and bribery.

State media report that former Water and Irrigation Minister Mounir Aweys and former Director of Customs Wadah al-Hamoud, among other officials, were indicted Wednesday.

The case, dubbed the “cigarette scandal,” involved the selling of counterfeit cigarettes worth millions of dollars.

The government first investigated last year as a matter of tax evasion. Since then, charges of bribery, abuse of power and smuggling have piled up against powerful ministers.

The accused officials, now in custody, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jordan has long struggled with endemic corruption, which recently sparked mass anti-government protests. Jordan’s King Abdullah vowed to tackle corruption in response to demonstrations last October.