Jordanian Government Refers Bank Loans Fraud Case to State Security Court

Published February 17th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Upon direct directives from King Abdulla II, the Jordanian government referred Thursday 27 officials and investors to the state security court in what is described as the biggest embezzlement case in the country dubbed by the public as Majd al Shamayleh Case. 


Informed sources estimated the credit facilities extended by a number of local banks to a group of businessmen at no less than JD100 million (USD 130 million) in addition to guarantees, transfers and collateral that have not been computed yet. The banks involved include the Jordan National Bank, Jordan Gulf Bank and Export and Finance Bank. 


Press sources said that prosecutor general, Colonel Mahmoud Ebaidat ordered the questioning of five persons including Senator Samih al Battikhi, former director of Intelligence Department, Zuhair Zannouneh, former Minster of Agriculture, Nabil Barakat, Chairman of the board of the Jordan Gulf Bank, Ali al Hossari, Chairman of the board of Export and Finance Bank, and lawyer Naser Salem al Masaadeh, son of the former Deputy Primmer and Minister of Interior.  


The Chief of the General Intelligence Department also referred three officers to the military prosecutor general for the necessary investigations. 


Prime Minister Ali Abu al Ragheb said that upon directives from King Abdulla II and recommendations by the director of the General Intelligence Department, Director of the National Security Council General Saad Khair, he decided to refer the case to the State Security Court. 


The government imposed a lien on the IT companies and shares owned by Shamayleh estimated at 2.2 million dollars. 


According to informed sources the State Security Court prosecutor general has begun questioning the five suspects. The suspects were accused of embezzlement and forgery in the management of fungible and non-fungible assets for the purpose of personal benefits in addition to forgery in official documents and simulating stamps of official agency. 


Informed banking sources told that the Jordanian government is making contacts with the Interpole to apprehend the main suspect Majd al Shamayleh who fled the country to an unknown destination. Many news reports said he has most likely fled to Australia or Russia. 


In the same context the judicial authorities gave orders to impose a lien on fungible and non-fungible assets owned by Shamayleh including lands and real estates in the capital and other Jordanian cities. These authorities have confiscated the headquarters of Global Business Company owned by Shamayleh and worth of three million dollars. 


The judicial order was taken within the framework of a lawsuit filed by Jordan Gulf Bank against Shamayleh. 


Majd al Shamayleh is a 31 year-old Jordanian who managed an IT company named Global Business which he established four years ago following his dismissal from a Jordanian IT company for dishonesty. Global Business has relations with international IT companies including IBM. 


Shamayleh was a senior advisor to an American company specializing in concluding deals and developing governmental defense transactions in collaboration with arm manufacturing firms.  


Global Business has a subsidy in Cyprus called Off Shore specializing in information and communication network solutions. 


The Jordanian daily al Rai said, “about 14,000 persons, driven by curiosity to learn more details, visited the web site of Global Business since the scandal was uncovered. Visitors noted that some information on the company employees were deleted from the site, the paper added. 


The daily cited some executives in the IT sector as saying that Shamayleh’s company was a very strong competitor for their extremely low prices. An expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that there were many miscalculated actions by Shamayleh, which were most often a source of astonishment. 


“Shamayleh was trustworthy in his bank dealing and commitments to the extent that observers within the banking sector understood it as building confidence while they could not give an explanation to some of his mysterious deals. These included the import of a huge number of computers that exceeded the actual needs some of which were given as donations to officials at the tenders departments,” the paper cited bankers as saying. 


In addition to the five suspects the prosecutor general questioned five others including Maarouf Abu Saadah, businessman, Michelle Ghawi, HSBC Jabal al Hussein branch assistant manager, Majdi Wasef Shaaban, Head of the branch’s Credit Department and Wasfat Abu Aishaha, IT businessman. 


Banking resources revealed that Amman Bourse will begin as of tomorrow, first day of the trading week, imposing a lien on all shares owned by all those involved in the case including 27 government officials and investors— 

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