Remember now, this is the Pentagon's man, Israel's man. He embezzled huge millions years ago; and in Jordan was convicted and sentenced to a long prison term.
Chalabi plays favorites in the game of Iraqi reconstruction
Nepotism is gaining momentum in Iraq as businessmen with close ties to US-endorsed opposition leader Ahmad Chalabi win large contracts in support of the nationís reconstruction effort. Associates of the prominent member of the Iraqi Governing Council have recently been awarded substantial telecom and security contracts.
Chalabiís business associate and personal acquaintance Ahud Farouki was offered a large stake in an $ 80million oil security deal when a consortium that included one of his companies was chosen for the job, reported LA Times.
Prominent Iraqi National Council (INC) official Mudar Shawkat was also a beneficiary of preferential treatment when his sonís company Nijla Telecommunications, a partially family-owned business, won a contract through a consortium to provide mobile phone services for southern Iraq. INC is an overseas Iraqi resistance movement chaired by Chalabi.
Nijla Telecommunications is part of the Kuwaiti MTC consortium awarded a two-year license to provide cell phone services to the southern part of the country. Shawkat said in an interview that the deal was made based on merit and that no preferential treatment was involved. ďI'm a person who wants to participate in the reconstruction of my country and, as a businessman, be part of its success," he said.
Questions about Chalabi's business practices surfaced 11 years ago, when a court in Jordan convicted him of defrauding Petra Bank, where he served a four-year tenure as chairman and general manager. He was found guilty of playing a lead role in what to date remains the largest ever financial corruption scandal in Jordanís history.
Chalabi, who refused to return to Jordan to appear before the court in1994 , was found guilty on two counts of embezzlement, two counts of violation-of-trust and one count of fraud, and sentenced in absentia to 22years in prison. In addition to a jail term, the court also demanded Chalabi return the $ 30million that were embezzled from the bank.
According to Iraqi and US businessmen, the influence of nepotism on Iraqi reconstruction ventures is discouraging foreign companies from pursuing deals in the Arab state. It is further tarnishing the image of an initiative already criticized for being dominated by politically connected US firms such as Halliburton and the Bechtel Group. ó (9 Nov menareport.com)