DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- The son of Senegal's powerful former president was convicted Monday on corruption charges and sentenced to six years in prison with a fine of nearly $230 million in a verdict that could reopen the wounds of the hard fought 2012 elections.
Karim Wade, who served in the government of his father Abdoulaye Wade, was charged with illegally accumulating a fortune of at least $200 million. His conviction may result in social unrest due to the continuing influence of his father's political party.
Karim Wade's supporters say his trial is part of a political vendetta being waged by President Macky Sall against his old rival.
On Saturday, Wade's Senegalese Democratic Party chose Karim Wade as their candidate for the next presidential elections despite the corruption charges against him.
His legal team has boycotted the trial on the grounds the verdict was determined ahead of time and they did not attend the verdict.
One of Karim's lawyers was even arrested last week, allegedly for hinting that a conviction would result in the overthrow of president Sall.
Senegal's next election is expected in 2017, pending a referendum to reduce the presidential term from seven to five years.
Senegal has distinguished itself from its neighbors by continuing to elect its leaders and having a tradition of losers stepping down peacefully rather than contesting their loss.
Sall overwhelmingly beat the powerful Wade with more than 60 percent of the vote in 2012 but two years into his term, his popularity is faltering amid complaints he hasn't done enough to improve the lot of ordinary Senegalese.
Supporters of former President Wade have since become more assertive.