Friday, September 17, 2004
Saddam-Al Qaeda Link Seen in U.N. Oil-for-Terror Program
If similar arrangements went on within other Pacific Interlink Oil-for-Terror contracts, which totaled close to a quarter of a billion dollars, then even at the more modest rate of what has been widely described as Saddam's typical 10 percent over-pricing scam, that would suggest well over $20 million diverted from relief.
If so, where did it go? The question is vitally important, because much of the money grafted out of Oil-for-Terror by Saddam remains unaccounted for.
Both HSA's and MIGA's offices overlap in locations that are hubs of normal commerce, but also served as hotspots of Al Qaeda meetings and finance, such as Dubai (where Hayel Saeed reportedly ran an HSA company, Frimex, in the late 1990s) or Kuala Lumpur (where some of the Sept. 11 hijackers gathered for a planning conference in January 2000). Pacific Interlink boasts offices or agents in places thick with terror networks, such as Algeria, Sudan, and Syria. MIGA, on its Lugano sign, lists offices in places such as Italy, Turkey, Syria, Nigeria and Kuwait, and both HSA and MIGA list offices in Morocco, Malaysia and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where Hayel Saeed is now based.
MIGA is now under active investigation by the U.S. Treasury and prosecutors in Switzerland and Italy. But there is no sign that any of these investigations have been tracking funds specifically via Oil-for-Terror contracts or that any of the multiple investigations into Oil-for-Terror have zeroed in on possible terror connections. It's not even clear that the United Nations has allowed terrorist-tracking authorities full access to its records.