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How Saddam hid his dirty money - Billions in oil sales stashed overseas
New York Daily News ^ | 5/04/03 | WILLIAM SHERMAN

Posted on 05/04/2003 2:04:49 AM PDT by kattracks

In the hunt for Saddam Hussein's billions, investigators have identified five networks of more than 100 companies used to launder money skimmed from Iraqi oil sales.

Saddam's gangster regime set up shell companies in Switzerland, Jordan, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg and Panama, according to investigators.

Those company networks and their banking affiliations were used to enrich the former Iraqi strongman, his sons Uday and Qusay, and other family members.

"Ultimately, the money was stolen from the Iraqi people," said Taylor Griffin, spokesman for the Treasury Department, which is heading the government's laundering probe along with U.S. Customs, the Secret Service and various intelligence agencies.

Last month, investigators isolated $1.2 billion in previously unknown assets outside Iraq, Griffin said. The assets include cash, real estate and diamonds held in the names of the companies controlled by Saddam.

With names like Jaraco SA and Dynatrade SA, the companies used major banks in Switzerland, France, Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to conduct transactions, according to investigators.

The intricate web was managed at the top by about 20 of Saddam's relatives and friends, who spent most of their time outside Iraq.

Possible road map

The mastermind of this vast criminal enterprise was believed to be Saddam's half-brother, Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti. Now in American custody, he could provide a road map to Saddam's hidden wealth.

Hasan, the five of clubs in the U.S. deck of most-wanted Iraqis, was Iraq's ambassador to the UN in Geneva for 10 years, ending in 1998.

During that time, he helped set up and manage a money-laundering network that was among the most sophisticated in the world, said investigators.

A second manager was Tareq Aziz, Iraq's Foreign Minister, according to a Treasury Department source. Aziz, also in U.S. custody, traveled widely under diplomatic immunity.

Estimates of the hidden loot range as high as $40 billion, but Saddam's personal trove "is in the single-digit billions, not more than 10," according to investigator John Fawcett.

"I'm kind of conservative in calculating his wealth," said Fawcett, who has focused on Saddam's finances for more than three years, most recently on behalf of Kreindler & Kreindler, a Park Ave. law firm.

The firm is trying pinpoint the links between Saddam's assets and financing of Al Qaeda. Once identified, those assets could be seized, recovered in court proceedings and distributed to families of those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"We think Saddam's laundered money was used in part to provide financial support to Al Qaeda, and we're looking at billions of dollars hidden in financial institutions and companies," said lawyer James Kreindler.

$900 million

One clue as to the size of Saddam's laundered legacy was found two weeks ago — $780 million in makeshift vaults in a palace compound and another cache of $112 million found in dog kennels on the grounds.

The cash was in $100 bills, and in the dog kennels, there were 200 aluminum boxes with $4 million in each box, all sealed with tags reading Bank of Jordan.

Customs and Secret Service agents in Baghdad are tracing the serial numbers to learn the origin of the bulk cash shipments, said Customs spokesman Dean Boyd.

The serial numbers on the bills will reveal which U.S. bank first received the cash from the Federal Reserve. From there, it may be possible to trace how the money got to Saddam's palace.

"We've also uncovered a lot of documents on Saddam's financial apparatus," Boyd said. For more than 20 years, Saddam skimmed 5% of just about everything that moved in and out of Iraq.

"Kickbacks were everywhere," said Fawcett.

Sulfur and fertilizer exports and imports of tobacco and alcoholic beverages were among the items subject to the rakeoff, according to the British Foreign Office and the Coalition for International Justice.

The rakeoff in 2000 alone included monthly imports of 300 million cigarettes, 38,000 bottles of whiskey, 230,000 cans of beer, 120,000 bottles of vodka and almost 19,000 bottles of wine, according to Peter Hain, a British foreign office official.

Saddam also fleeced pilgrims to Iraqi Shiite shrines in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, making them travel in buses owned by the Al-Hoda company, controlled by Uday Hussein, and stay in designated hotels.

A nine-day pilgrimage costs at least $900, much of which went to Saddam's family, according to the coalition.

But the principal source of the regime's skimmed revenue was oil exports, including more than $6.6 billion from the UN-sponsored oil-for-food program, General Accounting Office investigators found.

That program involved a direct exchange of exported Iraqi oil for food and medicine. It was part of UN sanctions imposed on Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War to prevent the diversion of oil proceeds to weapons.

Large-scale smuggling

In the last five years, the regime managed to duck the UN sanctions with a large-scale smuggling operation involving shipments through Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Persian Gulf countries.

During March 2002, Iraq smuggled out between 325,000 and 480,000 barrels a day, according to the General Accounting Office.

Barges, tankers, pipelines and trucks were used to get the oil out past UN inspectors' scrutiny, and at one point, an estimated 45,000 Turkish truckers were on the roads, loaded up with oil, the agency said.

Until the sanctions were imposed, Iraqi oil exports were not monitored, and all were subject to the 5% kickback. In the early years of Saddam's 25-year reign, Iraq exported as much as 3.2 million barrels per day.

The kickback-laundering system is essentially quite simple. Oil buyers, whether companies or countries, bought Iraqi oil from Saddam-controlled trading companies located outside the country.

The trading companies would forward 95% of the money to the Iraqi oil ministry and send Saddam's 5% to shell companies outside Iraq, investigators said.

Directors of those shell companies would deposit the 5% in company bank accounts, and the money was effectively laundered. Swiss and French lawyers did the paperwork.

Laundry list

Gold, artworks, hotels, construction and metal fabrication concerns, money market accounts, commodity trading companies and publishing are among Saddam's laundered investments.

Kroll Associates, a private investigative company, and the International Campaign to Indict Iraqi War Criminals, a U.S.-funded organization based in England, have identified other key figures in the financial network.

Hussam Rassam, a 67-year-old Iraqi businessman who established residency in Switzerland in 1987, was the administrator of the Saddam family pension fund, valued at $41.6 billion in 1990, according to a Kroll report.

Hussam "was appointed [administrator] in 1989 after the execution of his predecessor for skimming funds," said the report.

A telephone call to Hussam's home in the Swiss Canton of Vaud was answered by a French-speaking woman who told a reporter, "Mr. Hussam isn't here."

Whether Saddam and his sons are alive remains an open question, but it's unlikely they could ever again enjoy their over-the-top opulent lifestyles.

Previously frozen Iraqi assets include $20 million in the Cayman Islands, $85 million in the Bahamas and $14 million in Japan.

"What's the total, and where is it all?" asked Griffin. "I wish I knew."

Originally published on May 3, 2003



TOPICS: Breaking News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: alcohol; alhoda; alhodaco; alluidinalwan; alqaeda; alqaedairaq; altikriti; alwan; aziz; bahamas; banking; bankofjordan; banks; barzanaltikriti; beer; caymanislands; caymans; cigarettes; dynatrade; dynatradesa; fertilizer; hasanaltikriti; hincapie; hussamrassam; hussamressam; iraq; iraqalqaeda; iraqiassets; jaraco; jaracosa; jordan; karbala; karim; kickbacks; kreindler; lichtenstein; luisalbertohincapie; luxembourg; mmi; moneylaundering; moneytrail; montanamanagement; mounwafakabdulkarim; mounwafakkarim; najaf; oilforfood; panama; rassam; ressam; saddamhussein; saddamscash; saleh; sulfur; switzerland; tareqaziz; tarikaziz; tariqaziz; tikriti; tobacco; turass; usanasaleh; usansaleh; vodka; whiskey; wine

1 posted on 05/04/2003 2:04:49 AM PDT by kattracks
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To: kattracks
This roadmap can be find in Kofi Annan's office desk.
2 posted on 05/04/2003 2:11:44 AM PDT by Russell Scott (The answer is Jesus Christ, what's the question?)
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To: Russell Scott
The road map to the Laundromat for the dirty money can be found in Kofi Annan's office desk, next to the silverware and Twinkies.
3 posted on 05/04/2003 2:28:42 AM PDT by Russell Scott (The answer is Jesus Christ, what's the question?)
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To: Russell Scott
Yeah, with Tarik Aziz' handwriting all over it.

The press seems to love him and make excuses for him, but that man is one of my least favorites in the whole pack of non-favorites. His name keeps surfacing in everything.
4 posted on 05/04/2003 3:58:21 AM PDT by livius (Let slip the cats of conjecture.)
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To: livius
Press got kickbacks too, perhaps?
5 posted on 05/04/2003 5:04:38 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: Russell Scott
And the booze. Don't forget the booze.
6 posted on 05/04/2003 5:05:45 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: Howlin; Miss Marple; backhoe; RedBloodedAmerican; Dog Gone; JohnHuang2; All
There is such a wealth of data/answers to many questions in this article. Don't miss it!
7 posted on 05/04/2003 5:06:12 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: kattracks
Check this out:

The Electronic Trading Opportunity ETO (tm) System ETO is a copyright of the UNTPDC, All rights reserved. Ref:O2 Company Name: Jaraco S.A. Commerce de marchandises Contact Person: Bakhtiar, Bahmann Title: Mr. Position: Director Country: Switzerland City: Geneva Postal Code: GE 1207 Address: 45, route de Frontenex Phone: +41-22-7865682 Products HS Code: S8999 services n.e.c. Size: SMALL Reference Code: 19920127 ETO Date: 950127 Year of Establishment: 1981 Number of staff: 1

Wonder if it's the same Jaraco, SA. Look at the number of staff? LOL.

8 posted on 05/04/2003 5:09:41 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: mewzilla
FYI, here's the link for the previous info. Scroll down or do a page search for Jaraco, SA.
9 posted on 05/04/2003 5:11:37 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: kattracks
Great article. Thanks for posting it.
10 posted on 05/04/2003 5:18:57 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: Russell Scott
MASTER LIST Useless Nation's Oil for Food scam + galloway
11 posted on 05/04/2003 5:22:52 AM PDT by GailA (Millington Rally for America after action http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/872519/posts)
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To: kattracks
Hussam "was appointed [administrator] in 1989 after the execution of his predecessor for skimming funds," said the report.

Never cheat a cheat!

12 posted on 05/04/2003 5:32:41 AM PDT by Free State Four
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To: Thud
You spoke of this happening
13 posted on 05/04/2003 6:09:56 AM PDT by Dark Wing
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To: anniegetyourgun
Which Dem has investment in oil? Was it Daschle? My, how the net casts wide. Let's hope some of those terrorist assistants will have a "(D)" next to their name :o)
14 posted on 05/04/2003 6:40:35 AM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: MadIvan; Ernest_at_the_Beach; BOBTHENAILER; Shermy
The Iraqi Blood Money pool used to buy politicians, news papers, tv channels and others gets bigger and bigger.

How much of this money was invested in the French Companies which have invaded America and the UK?

Then how many of these French countries laundered that money and returned the profits to this Iraqi Blood Money Pool?
15 posted on 05/04/2003 7:38:34 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (Being a Monthly Donor to Free Republic is the Right Thing to do!)
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To: MadIvan; Ernest_at_the_Beach; BOBTHENAILER; Shermy; Miss Marple; Dog Gone; Dog; hchutch
Here is a link to a thread where a French Controlled company's division may have been involved in laundering drug money in America via its Rap music products.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/905356/posts
16 posted on 05/04/2003 7:42:18 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (Being a Monthly Donor to Free Republic is the Right Thing to do!)
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To: MizSterious
More money more money more money.
17 posted on 05/04/2003 7:44:31 AM PDT by Howlin
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To: mewzilla; backhoe; GailA; Shermy
Thanks mewzilla.

The rest of you might want to book mark this for future references. I'm sure that it will be one of many such one man fronts to hide and launder the billions of Iraqi Blood Money.
18 posted on 05/04/2003 7:44:56 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (Being a Monthly Donor to Free Republic is the Right Thing to do!)
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To: kattracks
This was published in a local newspaper (El Panama America) less than a week ago:

According to the Public Registry, Republic of Panama (R of P), the firm Montana Management, Inc. is part of a network of firms belonging to Saddam Husein. Montana Management, Inc. was registered in the Republic of Panama in 1994 by Luis Alberto Hincapie, lawyer (a Panamanian lawyer). Members of the first board of directors were: Alluidin H. Alwan, Mounwafak I. Abdul Karim, and Usan A. Saleh, all who reside in Baghdad.

A spokesperson for the Public Minister (R of P) stated that the U.S. authorities have not submitted formal requests to investigate Montana Management, Inc. bank accounts and properties.

19 posted on 05/04/2003 8:12:07 AM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Grampa Dave
The Iraqi Blood Money pool used to buy politicians, news papers, tv channels and others gets bigger and bigger.

Can't wait till the map points to the NYT/CNN/DNC connection.

20 posted on 05/04/2003 8:30:54 AM PDT by BOBTHENAILER (Just like Black September. One by one, we're gonna get 'em.)
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To: BOBTHENAILER
I just hope that the Telegraph or some out of country newspaper presents the data on NYSLIMES/CNN/DNC.
21 posted on 05/04/2003 8:36:26 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (Being a Monthly Donor to Free Republic is the Right Thing to do!)
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To: Grampa Dave
Reported by the Telegraph would be poetic justice on a huge scale.
22 posted on 05/04/2003 8:38:36 AM PDT by BOBTHENAILER (Just like Black September. One by one, we're gonna get 'em.)
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To: Russell Scott
"This roadmap can be find in Kofi Annan's office desk."

I second your motion to open up Kofi's thick dossier, confiscate his stashed billions in kickbacks, bribes, and blood money, then summarily hang him as a traitor to humanity....

That IS what you were implying, correct??;-)

23 posted on 05/04/2003 8:44:12 AM PDT by F16Fighter (Democrats -- The Party of Stalin and Chiraq)
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To: Howlin
Great article! Thanks for the ping!
24 posted on 05/04/2003 9:07:36 AM PDT by MizSterious (Support whirled peas!)
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To: kattracks
I'm sure the Europeans, Russians, and Chinese were very helpful in hiding Saddam's money from the big bad USA. Guess what, we're finding out more by the hour!
25 posted on 05/04/2003 9:10:20 AM PDT by Excuse_My_Bellicosity
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To: kattracks
BUMP!
26 posted on 05/04/2003 10:23:15 AM PDT by browardchad
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To: Grampa Dave
Hussam Rassam, a 67-year-old Iraqi businessman who established residency in Switzerland in 1987, was the administrator of the Saddam family pension fund, valued at $41.6 billion in 1990, according to a Kroll report.

What a pile of money!

27 posted on 05/04/2003 10:44:28 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Where is Saddam? and where is Tom Daschle?)
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To: anniegetyourgun
It wouldn't surprise me. An article appeared yesterday discussing Saddam's plan to get "gifts" to certain members of the press who had portrayed him in a favorable light. Again, a middle man living outside of the country was involved in this.
28 posted on 05/04/2003 10:45:45 AM PDT by livius (Let slip the cats of conjecture.)
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To: kattracks
This from a US newspaper. Most of the revelations have been coming out of the UK. Maybe this is a positive sign, where is the NY Times?
29 posted on 05/04/2003 10:46:04 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Where is Saddam? and where is Tom Daschle?)
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To: anniegetyourgun
Press got kickbacks too, perhaps?

Definitely the press was bought in the Arab world!

Saddam's Cash

30 posted on 05/04/2003 10:52:36 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Where is Saddam? and where is Tom Daschle?)
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To: kattracks
What? No money in Andorra? Look again. And check Kofi Annan's bank acount, too.
31 posted on 05/04/2003 10:58:43 AM PDT by henderson field
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To: kattracks
investigators have identified five networks of more than 100 companies
Anyone got information on the names of all these 100 companies?
32 posted on 05/04/2003 12:43:20 PM PDT by lelio
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To: lelio
Reference my Post #19. True, it's only one. 99 more to go.
33 posted on 05/04/2003 1:42:42 PM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: henderson field
Kofi Annan probably may very well have some of his stash hidden in shell corporations right here in Panama.
34 posted on 05/04/2003 1:46:36 PM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
Reference my Post #19
Wow, good catch! Wonder how this one was outed, and the other 99 remain nameless.
35 posted on 05/04/2003 1:51:08 PM PDT by lelio
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To: kattracks
Swiss and French lawyers did the paperwork.

Surprise, surprise!

36 posted on 05/04/2003 2:13:52 PM PDT by RJL
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To: kattracks
If they get him for gambling, he will be in real trouble with the left.
37 posted on 05/04/2003 3:29:40 PM PDT by doug from upland (my dogs ran from the room when they heard Hillary shrieking on the radio)
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To: lelio
LOL...In the end, there are no secrets in Panama.
38 posted on 05/04/2003 3:47:50 PM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: kattracks
the companies used major banks in Switzerland, France, Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to conduct transactions

Well, wouldn't you know.

39 posted on 05/04/2003 6:21:55 PM PDT by fightinJAG
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To: kattracks
bttt
40 posted on 05/05/2003 7:02:35 PM PDT by ellery
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To: kattracks
So, he's into publishing? I wonder which publishing companies. There are several that come to mind, the first being the NYT, after that the companies that paid the Clintons those outlandish sums for their books. That's where I'd start looking.
41 posted on 05/05/2003 7:25:34 PM PDT by McGavin999
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