Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #463 Interview with Lucy Komisar about Saddam’s Money Network

Record­ed June 6, 2004

Sup­ple­ment­ing infor­ma­tion set forth in FTR#’s 413, 417, 423, this pro­gram doc­u­ments Sad­dam Hussein’s finan­cial machi­na­tions and high­lights the insti­tu­tions and indi­vid­u­als involved in secret­ing his ill-got­ten gains out of Iraq. In addi­tion to lucra­tive arms deals with major muni­tions mak­ers (with kick­backs to the man­u­fac­tur­ers), Sad­dam uti­lized the petro­le­um trade to amass an enor­mous for­tune, which was trans­ferred abroad. Much of the dis­cus­sion cen­ters on Saddam’s use of the same net­works employed by Al Qae­da to finance their operations—the Al Taqwa com­plex in par­tic­u­lar. The Sad­dam mon­ey machine touched many bases—American and European—and many pow­er­ful insti­tu­tions and indi­vid­u­als have been com­pro­mised through their trans­ac­tions with the Iraqi dic­ta­tor. Some have lost their lives as a result of their deal­ings with Hus­sein.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The role of Ahmed Idriss Nasred­din (an Al Taqwa found­ing direc­tor) in the Sad­dam finan­cial net­work; the role of Bank Al Taqwa in the Iraqi mon­ey con­stel­la­tion; SICO direc­tor (and col­league of Nazi oper­a­tive Fran­cois Genoud) Bau­doin Dunand and his role in the Sad­dam finan­cial con­stel­la­tion; review of Dunand’s con­nec­tions to the bin Laden milieu; review of the Clearstream net­work and its use by Al Taqwa affil­i­ate Ban­ca del Got­tar­do; the Got­tar­do “Satan” account used by Sad­dam lieu­tenant Al-Mah­di; Amer­i­can financier Marc Rich’s deal­ings with Sad­dam through Iran­ian inter­me­di­aries; Saddam’s oth­er Amer­i­can assis­tants; a par­tial enu­mer­a­tion of major weapons deals with Euro­pean muni­tions firms; the sus­pi­cious death of Gian­lu­ca Boscaro—hired to inves­ti­gate the Sad­dam mon­ey machine; dis­cus­sion of the fail­ure of Amer­i­can inves­tiga­tive author­i­ties to ade­quate­ly inves­ti­gate (or even com­pre­hend) the Sad­dam finan­cial con­duits and repos­i­to­ries; the Ital­ian “Clean Hands” inves­ti­ga­tion of Saddam’s machi­na­tions; a par­tial chron­i­cle of the names of Saddam’s sub­or­di­nates involved with his finan­cial deal­ings. Note that this descrip­tion fea­tures text of Lucy’s answers that is derived from her arti­cle for UPI and is not a ver­ba­tim pre­sen­ta­tion of her on-air recita­tion. Be sure to access her impor­tant arti­cle.

1. D: In our pre­vi­ous inter­views, we’ve spo­ken about the Clearstream net­work. Review that net­work for us briefly. L: Reviews how “euro-dol­lars” led to the cre­ation of the Clearstream “Clear­ing­house” and Ernest Back­es’ role in that. She reviews how the sys­tem of unpub­lished accounts grew up. (For more about this top­ic, see FTR#458.)

2. D: In your In These Times arti­cle “Explo­sive Rev­e­la­tion$”, you detailed how Clearstream was used by the Al Taqwa net­work. L: “Fol­low­ing the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks on the World Trade Cen­ter and the Pen­ta­gon, the Unit­ed States start­ed focus­ing its inves­ti­ga­tion on the finan­cial trail of Osama bin Laden and the al-Qae­da net­work. Like any oth­er large, glob­al oper­a­tion, inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ists need to move large sums of mon­ey across bor­ders clan­des­tine­ly. In Novem­ber, U.S. author­i­ties named some banks that had bin Laden accounts, and it put them on a black­list. One was Al Taqwa (‘Fear of God’) reg­is­tered in the Bahamas with offices in Lugano, Switze­land. Al Taqwa had access to the Clearstream sys­tem through its cor­re­spon­dent account with the Ban­ca del Got­tar­do in Lugano, which has a pub­lished Clearstream account (No. 74381).”

3. L: “Ahmed Huber, a Swiss direc­tor of the bank who is a rad­i­cal Islamist and Hitler admir­er, acknowl­edged in 1995 that wealthy Sau­di Ara­bi­ans were large con­trib­u­tors to the Al Taqwa bank. The just-revealed list of share­hold­ers demon­strates fur­ther con­nec­tions between impor­tant indi­vid­u­als in mod­er­ate Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries and a finan­cial net­work alleged­ly vital to bin Laden. But bin Laden may have oth­er access to the unpub­lished sys­tem. In what he calls a ‘spec­tac­u­lar dis­cov­ery,’ Ernest Back­es reports that in the weeks before CEO Andre Lus­si ws forced to leave Clearstream last may, a series of 16 unpub­lished accounts were opened under the name of the Sau­di Invest­ment Com­pa­ny, or SICO, the Gene­va hold­ing com­pa­ny of the Sau­di Bin­laden Group, which is run by Osama’s broth­er, Yeslam Bin­laden (some fam­i­ly mem­bers spell the name dif­fer­ent­ly.)”

4. L: “Yeslam Bin­laden insists that he has noth­ing to do with his broth­er, but evi­dence sug­gests SICO is tied into Osama’s finan­cial net­work. SICO is asso­ci­at­ed with Dar Al-Maal-Al-Isla­mi (DMI), an Islam­ic finan­cial insti­tu­tion also based in Gene­va and presided over by Prince Muhammed Al Saoud, a cousin of Sau­di King Fahd, that directs mil­lions a year to fun­da­men­tal­ist move­ments. DMI holds a share of the Al Shamal Islam­ic Bank of Sudan, which was set up in 1991 and part­ly financed by $50 mil­lion from Osama bin Laden.”

5. L: “Fur­ther­more, one of SICO’s admin­is­tra­tors, Gene­va attor­ney Bau­doin Dunand, is a part­ner in a law firm, Magnin Dunand & Part­ners, that set up the Swiss finan­cial ser­vices com­pa­ny SBA—a sub­sidiary of the SBA Bank in Paris, which is con­trolled by Mah­fouz Sal­im bin Mah­fouz, part of the Mah­fouz bank­ing fam­i­ly.”

6. D: Kroll Asso­ciates con­duct­ed an inves­ti­ga­tion of Saddam’s finan­cial oper­a­tions that pro­vid­ed the foun­da­tion for the infor­ma­tion in your UPI arti­cle. Tell us about that. L: “A con­fi­den­tial Decem­ber 2001 report by Kroll, the inter­na­tion­al inves­tiga­tive agency, said that two Swiss com­pa­nies, MEDP Cor­po­ra­tion SA in Lugano and Mid­co finan­cial SA (in liq­ui­da­tion), were the hold­ing com­pa­nies that han­dled the mon­ey Sad­dam skimmed. It said, ‘Whilst in Gene­va Barzan was believed to have par­tic­i­pat­ed in finan­cial schemes that includ­ed I the year 2000 the ille­gal sales of Iraqi petrol’ and the pur­chase of weapons.”

7. “The unpub­lished report, authen­ti­cat­ed by Kroll board chair­man Jules Kroll, was com­mis­sioned by Kuwait after the Gulf War in an attempt to locate Iraqi assets it could claim as com­pen­sa­tion. Jules Kroll explained, ‘In 1990 we were giv­en the assign­ment and paid by the gov­ern­ment of Kuwait.’ He said the goals were to iden­ti­fy Iraq’s pro­cure­ment net­work and to find assets out­side that would be used to fuel the regime and buy weapons. The 2001 report was an update of the 1991 report.’”

8. “Kroll inves­ti­ga­tors dis­cov­ered that one of the mid­dle­men help­ing Sad­dam was Marc Rich, the U.S. tax-evad­er par­doned by Pres­i­dent Clin­ton. Rich had been indict­ed by the Unit­ed States in 1983 on charges he evad­ed more than $48 mil­lion in tax­es and ille­gal­ly bought oil from Iran dur­ing the 1979 hostage cri­sis. He fled the Unit­ed States and set­tled in Switzer­land. Kroll said, ‘We came up with evi­dence that through Marc Rich’s Span­ish sub­sidiary, he was using some Iran­ian cutouts—specifically [Shapour] Bakhtiar, Ira­ni­ans, whose fam­i­ly was close to Saddam—he was using them to nego­ti­ate arrange­ments as it relat­ed to oil.’”

9. “The work was all turned over to OFAC (the Trea­sury Department’s Office of For­eign Assets Con­trol),’ Kroll said. That means the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion knew about Rich’s aid to Sad­dam. The Kroll report also dealt with Nadh­mi Auchi, report­ing the Ital­ian intel­li­gence view that he was a ‘high-lev­el Iraqi defense pro­cure­ment and intel­li­gence agent.’ After Roger Wat­son [in 1987] became Saddam’s finan­cial con­sul­tant, he also became an advis­er to Auchi’s Inter­na­tion­al Com­pa­ny of Bank­ing and Finan­cial Par­tic­i­pa­tions (CIPAF). The totals from skimmed oil rev­enues and con­tract kick­backs from the late 1970’s through the oil-for-food 90’s have been esti­mat­ed by U.S. offi­cials to reach $30 or $40 bil­lion.”

10. “Jules Kroll said that until 9/11, a few staff mem­bers at the Treasury’s Office of For­eign Assets Con­trol ‘were the only ones spend­ing any ener­gy on this issue in any orga­nized way.’ He said, ‘The lev­el of igno­rance at the CIA was total, at the FBI it was beyond total. The law enforce­ment and intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty in the U.S. was behind the curve. It was of lit­tle inter­est to them,’ he said.”

11. D: Describe for us some of the areas of over­lap between the Al Qae­da mon­ey net­works and those used by Sad­dam to con­duct his finan­cial trans­ac­tions. L: “The key Iraqis in the oper­a­tion were Said Rahim Hus­sein Al-Mah­di and Madh­mi Auchi. Al-Mah­di was sent to Lugano because his father-in-law, Talaak el Naboul­si, an Egypt­ian sol­dier and mem­ber of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, was then work­ing in Gene­va for Barzan. (Barzan is now in U.S. cus­tody.) Al-Mah­di set up his sys­tem of secret com­pa­nies and accounts with the assis­tance of the promi­nent asset man­agers (also known as trustees or fidu­cia­ries) Elio Boradori in Lugano in the south­ern, Ital­ian-speak­ing part of Switzer­land, and Enri­co Walser and Engel­bert Schreiber, in Vaduz, Licht­en­stein. He would also use man­agers in Pana­ma, and the Bahamas. The same juris­dic­tions would be used to laun­der mon­ey in the oil-for-food sales in the 1990’s.”

12. “Al-Mah­di estab­lished MEDP (Mediter­ranean Enter­prise for Devel­op­ment and Projects), reg­is­tered in Lugano, with subsidiaries—generally just paper shells—in New York (MEDP USA at 900 Third Ave., New York, incor­po­rat­ed in 1984), Lon­don, Paris, Milan, Vien­na, Tokyo, Seoul, and Sao Pao­lo. Its sub­sidiary in Bagh­dad was chaired by Nazir Auchi, Nadhmi’s broth­er. These shells, in turn, had shares of oth­er com­pa­nies that car­ried out the mon­ey laun­der­ing and arms pur­chas­es.”

13. “A father-and-son team in Liecht­en­stein, whose busi­ness is set­ting up shell com­pa­nies and secret bank accounts, worked to move the mon­ey of both Sad­dam and al-Qae­da. Engel­bert Schreiber and his son Engle­bert Schreiber Jr. are list­ed as founder or board mem­ber of Mediter­ranean Enter­pris­es Devel­op­ment Projects; Tradex; Tech­no Ser­vice Intl.; Saidomin; and Exec­u­tive Flight Assis­tance, all Liecht­en­stein com­pa­nies that han­dled arms sales and pay­offs for Sad­dam. They are also list­ed on cor­po­rate doc­u­ments for NASREDDIN Inter­na­tion­al Group ltd. Hold­ing (Liecht­en­stein). Ahmed Idriss Nasred­din, on the U.S. ter­ror­ist black­list, was a founder of Al Taqwa, the bank that moved mon­ey for al-Qae­da and which was closed down by the Unit­ed States after 9/11. The Schreibers declined to respond to numer­ous requests for com­ment.”

14. “One of the men linked in doc­u­ments to sev­er­al Pana­ma shell com­pa­nies used in the Sad­dam laun­der­ing net­work was Bau­doin Dunand, a Swiss lawyer who is admin­is­tra­tor of the Sau­di Invest­ment Com­pa­ny (SICO), the Gene­va invest­ment affil­i­ate of the bin Laden fam­i­ly con­glom­er­ate, run by Osama bin Laden’s half-broth­er Yeslam Bin­laden. (They spell their names dif­fer­ent­ly.) Mr. Dunand declined to respond to repeat­ed requests for com­ment.”

15. “The Ban­ca del Got­tar­do in Lugano, Switzer­land, moved al-Qae­da mon­ey via the Al Taqwa bank, a shell bank that oper­at­ed through cor­re­spon­dent accounts at the Got­tar­do branch in Nas­sau. It also han­dled pay­ments for the Sad­dam mon­ey net­work. The bank’s spokesman wrote, ‘Please be advised that we do not intend to make any com­ments or dis­cuss any issues with you regard­ing the arti­cle you pro­posed in your e‑mail.’”

16. “Banque Paribas, head­quar­tered in Paris, with a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of shares owned by Saddam’s cousin Nadh­mi Auchi, moved mon­ey for the Al-Mah­di, moved mon­ey for the Al-Mah­di net­work in the 1980’s and was the bank cho­sen to han­dle the Iraqi oil-for-food pay­ments. In fact, Iraq insist­ed that Paribas han­dle the oil-for-food escrow account. A cor­po­rate doc­u­ment for al Taqwa Trade, Prop­er­ty and Indus­try Co. Ltd. of Liechtenstein—an al-Qae­da net­work shell com­pa­ny also shut down by the Unit­ed States—lists Banque Paribas, Lugano, where it had accounts. (Paribas in 2000 merged with anoth­er French bank to cre­ate BNP Paribas, with Auchi con­tin­u­ing as one of the largest share­hold­ers.)”

17. D: The afore­men­tioned Bau­doin Dunand was involved with set­ting up shell com­pa­nies used by Sad­dam as well. Tell us about that. [Note that Dunand was a friend of, and attor­ney for, Nazi banker Fran­cois Genoud. See FTR#456]. L: Lucy described this in item #14.

18. D: Ban­co del Got­tar­do moved Al-Qae­da mon­ey through Al Taqwa and did the same for Sad­dam. Describe that fur­ther for us if you would. L: “Al Taqwa has for years enjoyed pro­tec­tion in Switzer­land, where it moves mon­ey through cor­re­spon­dent accounts in the polit­i­cal­ly influ­en­tial Ban­ca del Got­tar­do, also in Lugano. Got­tar­do pres­i­dent Clau­dio Gen­er­ali is a local vice pres­i­dent of the rul­ing Lib­er­al Rad­i­cal Par­ty and a for­mer finance min­is­ter of Tici­no. Got­tar­do has New York cor­re­spon­dent accounts in Citibank and the Bank of New York, which gave Al Taqwa entry into the U.S. Reply­ing to numer­ous queries about Got­tar­do activ­i­ties, spokesman Fran­co Rogan­ti­ni sent an e‑mail declin­ing to answer queries, then or in the future. A 1983 doc­u­ment shows $1 mil­lion trans­ferred from the Got­tar­do ‘Satan’ account to Hamid Al-Tikri­ti’s account at the Nation­al Bank of Kuwait. The recipient—Abid hamid Mah­moud al-Tikriti—was Saddam’s pres­i­den­tial sec­re­tary and cousin, arrest­ed by the Unit­ed States in June 2003. In 1981, half a mil­lion dol­lars had been sent by Got­tar­do to Hamid al-Tikriti’s Kuwaiti bank account.”

19. D: Relate for us, if you would, the ori­gins and evo­lu­tion of this net­work. L: “Sad­dam Hus­sein began con­struct­ing his off­shore oper­a­tion in 1968 in Switzer­land, aware that the country’s bank secre­cy made it a prime place to orga­nize the move­ment of illic­it funds and the pur­chase of arms. That year, 11 years before his coup, Sad­dam sent his half-broth­er Barzan Ibrahim Hasan Al-Tikri­ti to Gene­va to con­struct the net­work to laun­der secret com­mis­sions charged on sales of Iraqi crude oil. The sys­tem would also be used for kick­backs on pur­chase from West­ern arms deal­ers. Liecht­en­stein, which Swiss bankers and mon­ey-man­agers often use to han­dle dubi­ous clients, was used to ensure even more impen­e­tra­ble secre­cy: real names of com­pa­ny and account own­ers would be hid­den from law enforcers. The key Iraqis in the oper­a­tion were Said Rahim Hus­sein al-Mah­di and Ndh­mi Auchi. Al-Mah­di was sent to Lugano because his father-in-law, Talaak el Naboul­si, an Egypt­ian sol­dier and mem­ber of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, was then work­ing in Gene­va for Barzan. (Barzan is now in U.S. cus­tody.)”

20. D: Would you describe some of the machi­na­tions of these indi­vid­u­als? L: “Al-Mah­di estab­lished MEDP (Mediter­ranean Enter­prise for Devel­op­ment and Projects), reg­is­tered in Lugano, with subsidiaries—generally just paper shells—in New York (MEDP USA at 900 Third Ave., New York, incor­po­rat­ed in 1984), Lon­don, Paris, Milan, Vien­na, Tokyo, Seoul, and Sao Pao­lo. Its sub­sidiary in Bagh­dad ws chaired by Nazir Auchi, Nadhmi’s broth­er. Thee shells in turn had shares of oth­er com­pa­nies that car­ried out the mon­ey laun­der­ing and arms pur­chas­es.”

21. D: The net­work used by Sad­dam ranged around the world and entailed trans­ac­tions with many of the world’s prin­ci­pal arms man­u­fac­tur­ers. What were some of the com­pa­nies with which the Sad­dam net­work trans­act­ed? L: “The off­shore net­works direct­ed by the two men were cru­cial inter­me­di­aries for such weapons mer­chants as Messer­schmitt-Bulkow-Blohm Heli­copter and Mil­i­tary air­craft Group/MBB (Ger­many), Thyssen Indus­tries (Ger­many), Air­bus (the con­sor­tium of French, Ger­man, Span­ish and U.K. com­pa­nies), and Das­sault (France), which used them to pay kick­backs and, after inter­na­tion­al embar­goes were estab­lished, to hide ille­gal sales. For exam­ple, a 1982 bank trans­fer from the Nas­sau branch of the Ban­ca del Got­tar­do in Lugano notes a cred­it to MEDP’s “Satan” account of 33,000,00

0 French francs (about $6 mil­lion) from Das­sault Inter­na­tion­al. On a trip to Paris in Jan­u­ary 1985, al-Mah­di signed a con­tract with Das­sault Inter­na­tion­al where­by the com­pa­ny was instruct­ed to send pay­ments to an account at the Indo­suez Bank branch in Lugano.”

22. D: Tell us about the “Satan” account in Ban­ca del Got­tar­do. L: She describes the found­ing of the account, described in the answer to the pre­vi­ous ques­tion. [This account is described in con­sid­er­able detail in FTR#413.]

23. D: You write of a num­ber of Amer­i­cans involved in the Sad­dam net­works. Who were some of them? L: [After dis­cussing Marc Rich, described above, Lucy goes on to describe the activ­i­ties of oth­er Amer­i­cans.] “Al-Mahdi’s net­work used Pana­ma shell com­pa­nies set up by Roger E. Wat­son, who had dual Amer­i­can-Pana­man­ian cit­i­zen­ship. An offi­cial Pana­ma doc­u­ment dat­ed 1985 lists Wat­son as vice-pres­i­dent of a com­pa­ny called Radis­tal; the pres­i­dent was Giuseppe Pog­gi­oli, a Lugano finan­cial con­sul­tant who acknowl­edged in an e‑mail that Al-Mah­di was his client. Wat­son and Pog­gi­oli were also offi­cers of anoth­er Pana­ma shell com­pa­ny, Dumyn­ta. Pog­gi­oli said about Wat­son, ‘I think he was the Con­sul of Pana­ma in Lugano, but I am not 100-per­cent sure. I have no more con­tact with him since 1986 or 1987.’”

24. D: What hap­pened to Mr. Al-Mah­di? L: “In 1985, Al-Mah­di ws called back to Bagh­dad and impris­oned by Sad­dam, who sus­pect­ed he was skim­ming funds, and he was behead­ed in 1986. Then, there was a con­flict over who would get the late Al-Mahdi’s cash. More than a decade after his death, fam­i­ly mem­bers sought to recov­er goods they claim were stolen by the Swiss part­ner, Pog­gi­oli. They hired a Swiss lawyer, Gian­lu­ca Boscaro, who went to court in Milan, Vaduz and Lugano, back­ing up their claims with doc­u­ments from Saad Al-Mahdi’s files.”

25. “In August, 2000, attor­ney Diane Fran­cois, rep­re­sent­ing Al-Mahdi’s wid­ow, wrote to Jean-Paul Gut, pres­i­dent of Aerospa­tiale Matra Lagardere Inter­na­tion­al in Paris, not­ing that Al-Mah­di ‘was one of the con­sul­tants of your com­pa­ny for Iraq and in this capac­i­ty was remu­ner­at­ed accord­ing to the sum of the sales con­clud­ed by your com­pa­ny with the Iraqi state.’ In oth­er words, this ‘con­sul­tant’ had been get­ting kick­backs. She wrote, ‘it appears that from the end of 1984, your com­pa­ny stop­ping pay­ing Mr. Al-Mah­di the sums that were due him, and Madame Lina El Nabul­si esti­mates at more than 44,865,000 French Francs [more than $8 mil­lion] the debt of your com­pa­ny to Al-Mahdi’s heirs.’”

26. “In 2001, Gian­lu­ca Boscaro filed law­suits in Milan, Vaduz and Lugano on behalf of the fam­i­ly for $18 mil­lion dam­ages against Pog­gi­oli and one of his col­lab­o­ra­tors. Talaat Mohamed Sud­ki el Nabul­si, the father of Al-Mahdi’s wife Lina el Nabul­si, had been involved in MEDP oper­a­tions, so the fam­i­ly could pro­vide Boscaro with evi­dence that Pog­gi­oli and his col­league had embez­zled the MEDP com­pa­nies and oth­er assets. In August, 2002, Boscaro, 44, a Euro­pean hang-glid­ing cham­pi­on, was killed in a sus­pi­cious acci­dent in qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the world cham­pi­onship at Lake Orta, Italy. He was doing a maneu­ver under the paraglid­er when sud­den­ly he plum­met­ed to the ground. Inves­ti­ga­tors found that the cords had been dam­aged. Accord­ing to jour­nal­ist Pao­lo Fusi, who obtained Boscaro’s files, the lawyer had dis­cov­ered and plot­ted the inter­re­la­tion­ships between about thir­ty shell com­pa­nies and fifty Iraqi accounts in Switzer­land.”

27. D: Who suc­ceed­ed Al-Mah­di after his death? L: “After Al-Mahdi’s death, Sad­dam divid­ed con­trol of the net­work between the direc­tors of the sub­sidiary com­pa­nies of MEDP, Iraqi busi­ness­man Mah­hal Sheikh Kadirin Lon­don and the Lebanese Alfred Jawde in New York. Wat­son, who set up a res­i­dence in Como, Italy, replaced Bor­radori in 1987 as Saddam’s finan­cial con­sul­tant and man­aged Pana­ma shell com­pa­nies for the net­work via his L.R. Euro­pean Com­pa­ny. Pog­gi­oli said that he, Pog­gi­oli, also left the oper­a­tion. Kadir and Wat­son could not be locat­ed, and Jawde declined to com­ment. Bor­radori was reached, but he is of advanced age and has dif­fi­cul­ty com­mu­ni­cat­ing.”

28. D: In your arti­cle, you pro­vide a wealth of spe­cif­ic doc­u­men­ta­tion on the trans­ac­tions con­duct­ed by many of these com­pa­nies with the Sad­dam net­work. Detail some of these if you would. L: “On Aug. 13, 1990 doc­u­ment signed by Inter­na­tion­al Air­craft Leas­ing Ltd. and Erfel Anstalt, both shell com­pa­nies reg­is­tered in Liecht­en­stein, not­ed past ‘con­sult­ing agree­ments’ with Air­bus Indus­tries, Bla­gnac, France, March 7, 1985, and with MBB, Munich, Feb. 19 and March 18, 1985; and a con­tract with Thyssen Indus­tries AG, Essen, West Ger­many, Nov. 26, 1987. An Erfel record of that date sets out com­mis­sions from MBB and Thyssen total­ing SF 720,000 ($432,000).”

29. “The Unit­ed Nations enact­ed com­pre­hen­sive trade and weapons embar­goes against Iraq in 1990. How­ev­er, a 1991 Erfel doc­u­ment notes a $255,875—5 percent—commission from Air­bus and a $45,247—5 percent—commission from Thyssen. And a 1991 bal­ance sheet for IAL cites a debt of 1,455,000 Ger­man marks due to Thyssen Industies AG, Essen, with FF 3,812 ear­marked for Kens­ing­ton Anstalt, an Al-Mah­di shell com­pa­ny. IAL pre­pared a chart that showed that from 1986 to 1991, it col­lect­ed ‘com­mis­sions’ of $1,238,813 (Cana­di­an) from MBB, $10,827,000 (U.S.) from Air­bus, $3,900,000 (Cana­di­an) from Thyssen, and DM 1,466,000 from Thyssen. Thyssen and Air­bus, which now includes MBB, were sent the doc­u­ments, but com­pa­ny offi­cials declined to respond.”

30. D: In the ear­ly 1990’s, the Ital­ian judi­cia­ry con­duct­ed “Oper­a­tion Clean Hands” aimed at root­ing out the endem­ic cor­rup­tion in the Ital­ian polit­i­cal sys­tem. This inves­ti­ga­tion wound up tar­get­ing Sil­vio Berlus­coni [now PM] and also uncov­ered some of the machi­na­tions of the Sad­dam net­work. Tell us about that if you would. [Note that Berlusconi’s Ital­ian invest­ments had been man­aged by Pier Felice Barchi, Nada’s attor­ney.] L: “Accord­ing to offi­cial Ital­ian doc­u­ments, Auchi used Pana­ma to laun­der kick­backs for two con­tracts for the Iraqi mil­i­tary. An Ital­ian par­lia­men­tary report in 1987 said that one of them, Dow­al, set up by Wat­son, was used to col­lect $23 mil­lion in hid­den com­mis­sions on Baghdad’s pur­chase of war­ships man­u­fac­tured by the Ital­ian ship­yard, Cantieri Navali Riu­ni­ti. In anoth­er case, the Oper­a­tion ‘Clean Hands’ (Mani Pulite) inves­ti­ga­tion in Italy revealed in 1993 that Auchi received about $40 mil­lion in hid­den com­mis­sions to facil­i­tate approval of a Fran­co-Ital­ian engi­neer­ing project to con­struct a pipeline from Iraq to Sau­di Ara­bia. Ital­ian banker Pier­francesco Paci­ni Battaglia declared to inves­ti­ga­tors that he had received instruc­tions to trans­fer these com­mis­sions to accounts in Pana­ma estab­lished in the names of Iraqi offi­cials.”

31. You had a great deal of dif­fi­cul­ty get­ting your arti­cle pub­lished. Are you in a posi­tion to describe some of your tra­vails in detail? Why do you think it was so dif­fi­cult to get this arti­cle pub­lished? L: “The major US media turned it down. One major pub­lish­er says it looks bad when they run out­side inves­ti­ga­tions because read­ers won­der why their own reporters didn’t get the sto­ry. Also, edi­tors most­ly don’t have a clue about the impor­tance of the off­shore sys­tem. Some asked me if any of the doc­u­ments relat­ed to the near present! As if some­thing doesn’t mat­ter if it didn’t hap­pen yes­ter­day. Real rea­son: aston­ish­ing­ly bad jour­nal­ism.”


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