Former Fatah security commander Muhammad Dahlan on Tuesday denied that he had plotted to stage a coup against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

On Sunday, Dahlan returned to Ramallah from Egypt to answer questions by members of a commission of inquiry that was set up by Abbas to look into the allegations.

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Dahlan said that the questions focused on whether he had been bad-mouthing Abbas and his two sons, Tareq and Yasser, who are wealthy businessmen. “After spending two hours with the commission of inquiry, I reached the conclusion that there’s really no case against me,” Dahlan said. “The questions were reasonable and I was asked whether I had said some bad things about the president’s sons.”

The latest dispute between Abbas and Dahlan erupted after a PA minister secretly recorded Dahlan during a meeting with Fatah activists in the West Bank.

In the recordings, Dahlan is heard saying that Abbas travels around the world mainly to promote the businesses of his sons. Dahlan is also heard describing Abbas as a weak leader who is not capable of governing or negotiating with Israel.

Dahlan denied that he and his supporters in the West Bank had been stockpiling weapons in preparation for a coup against Abbas.

“Until now I don’t know the reason behind the crisis,” Dahlan said. “I hear about weapons and a coup, but I haven’t seen anything so far. Where are the weapons? I’ve been hearing imaginary stories.”

Dahlan condemned as “disgraceful” the arrest of dozens of his supporters and friends in the West Bank in recent weeks by the PA security forces.

He said he was particularly outraged by the arrest earlier this week of Mu’taz Khdeir, the director of his bureau in Ramallah.

“This man is the director of the office of a member of the Fatah Central Committee,” Dahlan said. “Has it become an offense to work for Dahlan’s bureau?”

Dahlan expressed “regret” over the Fatah Central Committee’s recent decision to prevent him from attending its meetings.

A top aide to Abbas admitted, meanwhile, that the main talk about a possible coup against the PA president was exaggerated.

“I believe we are talking about a personal or business dispute between Abbas’s sons and Mohammed Dahlan,” the aide said. “I believe that many of the reports that talked about a coup are exaggerated.”

The three-man commission of inquiry consists of Fatah officials Azzam al-Ahmed, Othman Abu Gharbiyeh and Sakher Bsaiso. It had originally been headed by Abu Maher Ghneim, deputy chairman of the Fatah Central Committee.

Ghneim resigned last week after Abbas rejected his initial recommendation to close the case with an apology from Dahlan.