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Published: Thursday March 27, 2014 MYT 5:30:02 AM
Updated: Thursday March 27, 2014 MYT 5:31:40 AM

Libya investigates top leader's questioning over visit by two women

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan authorities are investigating an incident, captured on video and circulated on Facebook, in which the country's most powerful man was grilled by an unknown questioner about why two women visited his house at night.

The Attorney General's office said on Wednesday it was looking into the suspected wrongful arrest of the official, parliamentary president Nouri Abu Sahmain, but also into possible 'moral crimes'.

The case has the potential to damage Abu Sahmain, who is the top army commander and has quasi-presidential powers, at a time of growing turmoil in the oil-producing North African country.

The video, widely circulated on Tuesday, showed Abu Sahmain looking nervous under the questioning. It was apparently filmed without his knowledge.

"An investigation was started to look into what was reported on social media websites and by Libyan channels ... regarding Abu Sahmain, head of the General National Congress," the office of Attorney General Abdelqadir Rawdan said in a statement.

Sadiq as-Sour, head of the attorney general's investigations department, told Reuters: "There will be a complete investigation with all people involved."

There was no immediate comment from Abu Sahmain, who has been attending an Arab summit in Kuwait this week.

At the time of the incident in January, rumours surfaced across Libya that he had been briefly detained by a militia to question him about the women. He strongly denied then that he had been kidnapped.

Three years after the ouster of veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is grappling with chaos and anarchy as the weak Tripoli government struggles to control the militias who toppled him. Armed factions have seized oilfields and detained officials at will to make political and financial demands.

(Reporting by Feras Bosalum and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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