Arab Dictators and Their Spy Chiefs

Stashed Millions in Swiss Bank.

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By Latheef Farook

A leak of account data from Credit Suisse revealed Arab Dictators and Spy Chiefs Stashed Millions in Swiss Bank.

According to a 21 February 2022 dated  repot by Ben Hubbard in the London based website  Middle East Monitor “The king and queen of Jordan had secret Swiss bank accounts worth hundreds of millions of dollars., So did the sons of Hosni Mubarak, the ousted president of Egypt, and business tycoons who thrived during his 30-year rule.

Other accounts were linked to spy chiefs from Egypt, Jordan and Yemen who cooperated with the United States, sworn enemy of Islam and Muslims,  accused of human rights abuses.

“What you have is a very sophisticated, corrupt elite that is very integrated into the global financial system,” said Nadim Houry,the executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative.

“It looks like a state, it sounds like a state, but ultimately when it comes to the assets of the country,” he said, many of the potentates “act like absolute monarchs disposing of personal property.”

A leak from the bank reveals that it opened accounts for clients involved in torture and corruption  and kept them open even after details of their crimes were made public.

“I believe that Swiss banking secrecy laws are immoral,” the whistleblower said in a statement. “The pretext of protecting financial privacy is merely a fig leaf covering the shameful role of Swiss banks as collaborators of tax evaders.”

Egypt, along with Venezuela, is the country with the largest number of clients in the leaked documents. There were over 2,000 clients with accounts at Credit Suisse from each country.

Following the 2011 Arab uprising,late Egyptian President Mubarak and his two sons Alaa and Gamal were convicted of squandering 125 million Egyptian pounds ($7.8 million) of state money so they could renovate their homes. The two brothers were sentenced to four years in prison and the former dictator to three.

Former intelligence head Omar Suleiman and his family had an account that held $56 million in 2007, which wasn’t closed until 2016, five years after Mubarak stood down and he lost his position in the government.

Nicknamed Egypt’s torturer in chief, Suleiman was the key contact for the CIA for renditions, under which people accused of terrorism around the world were sent to Egypt to be interrogated and tortured. Shameful state of affairs is that these criminals tortured and killed their own people to please America,

In 2003, close relatives of Omar Suleiman, Mr. Mubarak’s long-serving intelligence chief and a key interlocutor with the C.I.A., opened a joint account whose balance would grow to $52 million a few years later, the data showed.

A 2015 account belonging to former Algerian President Abdul-Aziz Bouteflika, had a balance of $1.1 million in 2005. The late Sultan Qaboos Bin Said of Oman had two accounts with $126 million in 2003 and $57 million in 2015.

The leaks raise serious questions as to why these clients were allowed to open bank accounts in the first place. According to a 2017 report, clients flagged as a politically exposed person either from a high-risk country or involved in a high-risk activity such as weapons trading would be flagged.

From 2000 to 2005, Saad Kheir led the Jordanian intelligence agency, a key U.S. counterterrorism partner that human rights organizations say interrogated terrorism suspects for the United States. In 2003, he opened an account whose balance would rise to $21.6 million before it was closed after his death in 2009.

While it was possible that the money held by the intelligence chiefs was for covert government activities, that the men kept it in their own or their relatives’ names suggested it was for personal use, said Douglas London, a retired senior operations officer in the C.I.A.

“These were the right hands and henchmen for the autocrats, so they were well taken care of for their loyalty and their service,” he said. “That is just, for better or for worse, how things operate in these countries.”

However, former and current Credit Suisse employees who spoke off the record said that at work “bosses encourage everyone to look the other way.” Big accounts were kept under the radar and were only known about by several senior executives.

A deal between Tony Blair and an unnamed person from Bahrain which saved the former UK prime minister some $423,000 in taxes sparked condemnation.

Earlier a July 2020  a new damning report by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, disclosed that corrupt and criminal actors from around the world, including Afghan warlords, Russian mobsters, Nigerian kleptocrats, European money launderers, Iranian sanctions-busters, and East African gold smugglers, operate through or from Dubai.

The outdated tribal oil sheikhs in the Gulf who are law unto themselves have personal wealth ranging from 4.5 billion to 18 billion dollars.

These disclosures were only tip of the iceberg. This is the miserable plight of Muslim countries in the Middle East.

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Stashed Millions in Swiss Bank. - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view

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