Burmese state media have accused detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi of tax evasion by spending money from her Nobel Peace Prize overseas instead of within Burma.

The official New Light of Myanmar newspaper says Aung San Suu Kyi has asked her family members living abroad to spend all the money that she has received from international awards for her work.

The pro-democracy activist has spent more than half of the past 17 years under house arrest. Her two sons live in Britain, where her husband died of cancer in 1999.

Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 while still under house arrest. The award was worth about $1 million.

The state-run newspaper says Burma's military leadership has acted "considerately" by only putting the democracy leader under house arrest, rather than punishing her in accordance with the law.

Burma's leaders have long rejected international appeals for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.