Former Arafat advisor sentenced to 15 years in jail

PA court sentences Rashid for embezzlement, money laundering, making him most senior PA official sentenced for corruption.

Yasser Arafat 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Yasser Arafat 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Yasser Arafat’s former financial adviser Muhammad Rashid revealed over the weekend that Fatah has a secret bank account in Jordan containing $39 million.
Rashid said that the original sum was $44m., but that this dropped after the Fatah leadership spent $5m. on the faction’s sixth general conference held in Bethlehem in August 2009.
Rashid, who was Arafat’s “moneyman” for many years, said he had all the necessary documents to prove the existence of the bank account.
He said that only Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and two of his associates were authorized to deal with the secret account.
“According to my documents, $13m. came from the US, while the remaining sum came from friendly Arab countries,” Rashid said.
He challenged Abbas to deny the existence of the account, saying he would then reveal the identity of the two associates, the name of the bank and the Arab countries that deposited the money.
Rashid pointed out that Abbas had long been denying the existence of such a bank account for Fatah.
Rashid’s revelations are part of what Palestinians describe as a “dirty war” that has erupted between him and Abbas.
Last week, a PA court in Ramallah sentenced Rashid in absentia to 15 years in prison and a $15m. fine on charges of embezzlement of public funds and money-laundering.
The decision to prosecute the former Arafat adviser came after he appeared on the Saudiowned Al-Arabiya TV station and criticized the PA leadership.
Rashid has since threatened to expose corruption scandals involving Abbas and his two businessmen sons, Yasser and Tarek.
The Fatah central committee, a body dominated by Abbas loyalists, on Saturday launched a scathing attack on Rashid, who is a Kurd from Iraq, and dubbed him a “criminal” and “traitor.”
The committee said in a communiqué issued in Ramallah that Rashid was “playing a central role in a new conspiracy against President Abbas, who represents the will of the Palestinian people and who has become a symbol of steadfastness in the face of pressure and plots.”