By Nabil Al Mulhem
A Syrian businessman has disclosed full details of the AirBus deal, a corruption case that has seen the sending to trial a number of Syrian former officials, including the former prime minister, Mahmoud Zu’bi, who killed himself in May.
A source close to businessman Munir Abu Khaddour told Albawaba.com that Zu’bi asked the businessman, who was a friend to Kuwaiti princes, to meddle in the purchase of three Kuwaiti Airbus airplanes deposited in Iran since the Gulf War.
The source quoted Abu Khaddour as saying that he had contacted the Kuwaiti emir, Sheikh Jaber Sabah, and conveyed Syria’s wish to buy the three planes.
For his part, the emir insisted that Syria get the planes “ as a gift from the Kuwaiti government to Syria, one from a brother to a brother.”
The source stressed that Abu Kahddour, who was accused of receiving commissions, “had nothing to do with the deals, and he was surprised at the latest developments.”
He quoted the businessman, who lives in Spain, as saying he had received a letter of acknowledgement from Zu’bi “for the services he offered his country,” assuring that he has everything documented.
Abu Khaddour is also accused of playing a part in another case, dubbed as “the French airplanes.”
Defending the businessman, the source said Abu Kahddour had no role in the deal whatsoever, and that it was concluded directly between the French and the Syrian governments.
He added athat French President Jacque Chirac came to Syria “to press the Syrians to buy six Air Bus planes. Both governments negotiated the deal and agreed that the French part extend the contract of operating the Meridian Hotel as part of the deal.”
Asked if Abu Khaddour would face the court in Syria, the source said “Abu Khaddour is ready to appear in the court provided there are guarantees of a public and fair trial.”
Munr Abu Khaddour was born in Deraa, south of Damascus. He studied medicine in Spain and got married to a rich Spanish woman, and quit medicine for a career in business.
He is wanted by the Syrian authorities on corruption charges, and some of his assets in the country have been sequestered.
Zu’bi’s deputy Mufeed Abdul Karim and his transportation minister Salim Yassin are under arrest on the same charges – Albawaba.com
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