Suha Arafat: Sharon fabricated French money laundering probe
The wife of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasser Arafat said that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fabricated reports that French prosecutors have launched a money-laundering probe into the alleged transfer of $11.5 million into her Paris accounts.
Suha Arafat, currently residing in Paris, told Al-Hayat that Sharon invented the story as a way of diverting attention from Israeli investigations into alleged corruption by the prime minister and his sons.
"As long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues, Sharon and the Israelis will not stop trying to harm Arafat in order to hide the Palestinian plight and the killing of Palestinian children and women," she told the newspaper.
According to the weekly Le Canard Enchaine , the Bank of France approached the Paris prosecutor's office in October after tracking monthly transfers of nearly $1.27 million between July 2002 and July 2003 from Switzerland to Suha Arafat’s French bank accounts. French prosecutors said the results of their preliminary investigation would be known in a few months, after which a formal investigation can be launched.
"What is strange in the fact that [Arafat] should send money to his wife abroad, especially since I am working for the Palestinian cause and interests? These funds arrived legally, and my husband and I are willing to answer any questions about these funds and their sources," she said.
According to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report released in September, some $900 million in PA funds were diverted by PA officials to overseas accounts between 1997 and 2003. Suha Arafat was allegedly a recipient of some $10 million of the missing funds. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)