Skip to comments.Papers show Saddam snatched $1bn from bank a day before invasion
Posted on 08/04/2005 8:57:41 PM PDT by snowsislander
Saddam Hussein ordered Iraq's central bank to withdraw $1 billion for his youngest son the day before the invasion to stop it falling into foreign hands, according to a leaked letter apparently written by the former dictator.
In a hand-written note to the bank's governor, marked "top secret" and dated March 19, 2003, the former president told Isam Huwaish to give $920 million and 90 million euros to his son Qusay and another man, al-Mashriq newspaper reported yesterday. The Iraqi national broadsheet reproduced the letter, which appears to bear Saddam's signature.
Saddam sent bank a hand-written note
Employees of the bank and finance ministry officials reported the licensed raid on the bank in May 2003 but written evidence has not emerged until now.
Saddam justified the withdrawal "to protect this money from American aggression" and ended the short note ordering that "necessary measures should be taken".
Qusay and Hikmat Ibrahim, a senior aide to the president, delivered the instruction in person to Mr Huwaish.
The huge amount of cash, said to be in $100 bills, was loaded in metal boxes on to three lorries during a five-hour operation, said bank officials interviewed after the fall of Baghdad.
The reproduced letter was passed to the newspaper by Badee Arif, a lawyer who is representing Mr Huwaish on corruption charges.
"This document makes clear that my client is innocent of the crime he is accused of: wasting the country's finances," he said.
Al-Mashriq's deputy editor told The Daily Telegraph he believed that the document was genuine. The whereabouts of the money is still debated in Iraq. Many people believe that much of it is with Saddam's family, which is now living in exile.
American officers suspect that much of the money was moved to Syria, where Saddam's relatives are said to have fled before the invasion.
Two of his daughters, Raghad and Rana, are now said to be living in a villa in the Jordanian capital, Amman. His first wife Sajida and her daughter Halan are in Qatar. Saddam's only surviving son, Ali, who is in his early twenties, and his second wife, Samira Shahbander, are living in Lebanon apparently under assumed names.
At least $650 million, possibly part of the bank hoard, was recovered behind a false wall by American marines who captured the palace of Uday Hussein, the dictator's eldest son. Uday and Qusay died together in a battle with US troops in the northern city of Mosul in July 2003.
Saddam is also reported to have distributed huge bundles of cash to his supporters shortly after the occupation. That could account for some of the insurgents' funding.
The cash amounted to about a quarter of the central bank's hard currency reserves.
The trial of Saddam is not expected to begin until next year when the country's new constitution should be in place. That will determine what sort of sentence he will face if found guilty.
He is facing a charge of ordering the massacre of at least 140 villagers after a failed assassination attempt in Dujail, north of Bagdad.
Saddam is occasionally shown on television being questioned at a suite close to his prison cell, thought to be at Baghdad airport.
But this is well known, US troops found a semi-load of metal boxes full of 100 dollar bills. (Some of them tried to pilfer a few million and got caught and court martialed.
I guess he thought he could bribe his captors.
A billion here, a billion there, all at the dictator's disposal.
My question is how did close to one billion in 100 dollar bills wind up in Iraq to begin with with the trade embargo and all.
Dollars are all over the world.
Wow, I guess there really are significant penalties for early withdrawal. There goes my plans to raid the Christmas Club account early this year.
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