Report: Saddam’s son seizes $1 billion from Central Bank prior to US attack
Two days prior to the launch of the US-led military campaign against Iraq, former President Saddam Hussein’s son and a personal advisor withdrew close to one billion dollars in cash from Iraq’s Central Bank. The withdrawal was confirmed by a US Treasury official working in cooperation with Iraqi financial advisors to rebuild the nation’s banking sector.
Labeled one of the largest bank robberies in history, the transaction was carried out under the direct orders of Saddam Hussein, reported the New York Times. According to unidentified Iraqi official, no one had been informed as to where the money would be transferred.
Saddam’s second son, Qusay and personal advisor Abid Al-Hamid Mahmood carried out the withdrawal on March 18 at 4 am, leaving with some $900 million and $100 million worth of euros. The Iraqi official said that the money removed is equivalent to close to a quarter of the Central Bank’s hard currency reserves.
US army Special Forces officer Col. Ted Steel said he is aware of the cash seizure and that intelligence information has suggested that a series of tractor trailers carrying the funds had crossed into Syria from Iraq. Iraqis however, believe that the funds are being used to support former members of the Saddam government, currently hiding in Baghdad.
Since the discovery, American troops have sealed off the area around the Central Bank, denying entry to all except employees. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)