Report: Israeli businessmen managed $300 million Swiss accounts for PA officials

Published December 8th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

An official investigation was opened Thursday, December 5, against Israeli businessman Yossi Ginossar who allegedly helped transfer $300 million in Palestinian funds through secret Swiss bank accounts and shell companies to an unknown destination on behalf of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.  

 

Ex-business partner Ezrad Lev told Israeli daily Ma'ariv that Ginossar set up an account at the Swiss Bank Lombard Odier & Cie through a front company, originally named Ledbury but later changed to Crouper. The company advised Arafat's financial consultant Muhammad Rashid on business investments, on a commission basis.  

 

Lev added that besides operating PA accounts, Ginossar and him also managed Rashid's personal account. Lev alleged that Ginossar paid kickbacks to Rashid for contracts between Israeli and Palestinian firms he brokered. In his business dealings with Rashid, Ginossar made $10 million, Lev said adding that he decided to expose his ex-partner after $65 million had vanished from the Swiss deposit. 

 

Ginossar, who maintains close personal and business relations with Palestinians, is a former official at the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret security service. Although no longer a civil servant, Ginossar served as an unofficial envoy to negotiations with the PA on behalf of several Israeli prime ministers. 

 

Replying to the allegations, Ginossar stated on Israeli national television: "I have nothing to hide. Everyone knew I had business ties with the Palestinians for many years.” Regarding the “fantastic” story of the missing $65 million, Ginossar claimed the PA had invested the money in a communications project. While admitting that he did open an account for Rashid at a Swiss bank, the Israeli denied having managed it. 

 

Palestinian Minister of Local Government Saeb Erekat denied the allegations, saying they were part of an Israeli "smear campaign" against the Palestinian Authority, reported Ha'aretz. — (menareport.com) 

© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)


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