Former PLO Treasurer Accuses Arafat
Helped by the Israelis who are helped by Sari Nuseibeh
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP - 19 August) - The former treasurer of the Palestine Liberation
Organisation (PLO) Jaweed Al Ghussein accused Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat of massive corruption in remarks published in the Israeli press on
"I discovered how he took money given to the Palestinian people by donor
countries and put it in his own account," Ghussein, 71, claimed in an
interview with the Israeli daily Yediot Aharanot.
Yediot said Ghussein, interviewed in London where he now lives, personally
deposited half a billion dollars in secret bank accounts for the Palestinian
The daily said Ghussein had transferred between $7.5 and $8.0 million each
month from Palestinian public funds to Arafat's personal account.
"There was never any clear demarcation between the tasks of the heads of PLO
and the Palestinian Authority (PA), so questions about the responsibility
for good management went unanswered," he was quoted as saying.
Arafat is the leader of both organisations.
"I constantly and vainly called for reforms and transparency and when I
finally quit in 1996, I warned donor countries of the situation, because I
could not simply carry on being held responsible for these disappearances of
money," he said.
Ghussein, himself accused by the PA of embezzlement, fled to London via
Israel, a Palestinian security source said Friday.
"Jaweed Al Ghussein, former chairman of the Palestinian national fund who
was under house arrest in Gaza City, was taken to the Al Makassed Hospital
in east Jerusalem from where he went to Ben Gurion Airport, which he left
for London showing a Jordanian passport," the source said.
Ghussein had embezzled millions of dollars during his time as PLO finance
chief, the source said. While living in the United Arab Emirates, he had
been arrested in Abu Dhabi in April 2001 and handed over to the PA.
The family of Ghussein, who always insisted he was innocent, accused the PA
several times of having kidnapped him.
Israel's deputy foreign minister, Michael Melchior, admitted Sunday that
Israel had helped Ghussein find refuge in London.
"We responded to the demands of various humanitarian organisations,
including Amnesty International and religious groups, and we helped him
leave via Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv," he said.
"This man was extremely sick and was to receive medical treatment in London.
There was no reason for the PA to prevent him from leaving. Moreover, it
never formally charged him with embezzlement," Melchior told Israeli public
Yediot said that Ghussein "knew too much about Arafat and his financial
The head of Israeli military intelligence on Tuesday told the parliamentary
defence and foreign affairs committee here that Arafat had amassed a
personal fortune of $1.3 billion, parliamentary officials said.
Another Israeli daily, Haaretz, said that the PA accused Ghussein of never
repaying a loan of $6.5 million granted him in 1991.
Ghussein argued it was an "unsuccessful investment" rather than a loan.
However, a court in London, where the case was handled, ordered him to
reimburse the sum.
The financier said he was unable to and declared bankruptcy.
Haaretz said Ghussein was released from Gaza through the intervention of
Sari Nusseibeh, the PLO's representative for Jerusalem affairs, amid growing
international pressure, in particular from Britain.