June 07, 2012:
The Palestinian anti-corruption court in the West Bank city of Ramallah convicted Mohammed Rashid, the moneyman of the late leader Yasser Arafat of siphoning off millions of dollars in public funds. The court, found Mohammed Rashid guilty of embezzlement and money laundering sentencing him to 15 years in prison.
In addition to the prison sentence, he was also fined $15 million and his properties were ordered confiscated. He and two associates were convicted of taking a total of $33.5 million from the foreign donor-financed Palestinian Investment Fund.
Rashid, left the Palestinian territories after Arafat’s death in November 2004 and has rarely been seen since. It is assumed he is holds business interests in four Middle Eastern countries and Montenegro. The Palestinian Authority has requested those countries to freeze his assets and extradite him. Rashid several months ago threatened to disclose purported secrets about the rise to power of Arafat’s successor, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Arafat put the shadowy Rashid, a former journalist with no business training, in charge of most of his finances. Arafat used large amounts of money to buy loyalty. The first decade of the Palestinian Authority, formed in 1994, was marked by rampant corruption and official mismanagement. In 2003, the international community, was concerned about millions in foreign aid going to waste.
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