By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
By New Times
The Post reported that Hashim's memo sent U.S. Treasury Department investigators searching for a huge Iraqi slush fund.
Treasury Department officials declined to comment last week on Hashim's memo. A variety of national and international press accounts indicates that efforts to find the $30 billion have proved fruitless. Sanctions against Iraq, however, have remained in place.
Two months after Hashim sent his letter to the White House and the U.N., he was a media favorite again, this time as an expert on the Iraqi nuclear weapons program.
Hashim told USA Today that a "topnotch" nuclear scientist reported directly to Saddam's office. Saddam kept him in a secret place and spread rumors he had been executed, Hashim says. "If anyone there is going to develop the bomb, it is that man," Hashim was quoted as saying.
Between the ABC news broadcast in March 1991 and Hashim's nuclear disclosure later that summer, the former Iraqi minister hit the news at least one other time.
In May 1991, Hashim summoned reporters to Toronto to announce the defection of two Iraqi ambassadors and the issuance of Iraqi death warrants against the diplomats and himself.
Hashim said he and the other two men were cited during a secret Iraqi trial for high treason and for cooperating with the CIA and British and Canadian security agencies.
Iraq denied Hashim's claim two days later.
The Iraqi Information Ministry said Hashim's allegation was "entirely baseless." An unidentified government spokesman was quoted as saying that none of the three had been tried or sentenced in absentia.
The spokesman called Hashim "an internationally known convict"--a reference to his 1987 conviction in Abu Dhabi for defrauding the Arab Monetary Fund. The spokesman also claimed that Hashim was pretending to be a victim of persecution to gain "personal benefits and then capitalize on that."
To be sure, Iraqi officials have lied, and lied often, in the bitter aftermath of their country's Gulf War defeat. But then again, so has Jawad Hashim.
While Hashim portrays himself as an anti-Saddam freedom fighter, court records from around the world show that there is another, less selfless side to the man.
Soon after Hashim's term as director ended in 1982, the Arab Monetary Fund launched an internal audit to find the causes of heavy losses it had suffered during his tenure. The audit uncovered a series of transfers of AMF assets to the Dresdner Bank in Luxembourg, where they were placed in "account No. 444."
The account was in the name of Jawad Hashim.
In May 1983, the monetary fund hired the accounting firm of Ernst & Whinney to conduct a more extensive audit. The accountants reported that evidence strongly suggested Hashim had siphoned about $50 million from the fund.
By the time Ernst & Whinney completed its work, however, the money allegedly diverted from AMF had been moved from Hashim accounts at the Dresdner Bank and at the eventually notorious Bank of Credit and Commerce International. (In the wake of its spectacular 1991 collapse, BCCI was often referred to as the Bank of Crooks and Criminals.)
The Arab Monetary Fund filed criminal charges against Hashim in May 1984 in Abu Dhabi. Hashim was summoned to attend the trial, which began in October 1985, but he never appeared. After 53 sessions of the Abu Dhabi court, Hashim was found guilty on March 16, 1987, of 47 charges of breach of trust and forgery. He was sentenced in absentia to 243 years in prison and fined $80 million.
Hashim says the Abu Dhabi trial was corrupt and claims to have several audio-tape recordings of the judge in the case offering an acquittal if Hashim would pay $1 million.
"I have in my possession a tape-recorded conversation which the judge in Abu Dhabi, he was a member of the PLO . . . a Palestinian judge, he called me from Cairo," Hashim says. "And it was recorded. Not only once or twice. Three or four times where he said, 'Give me $1 million. I know you are innocent. I will acquit you,' or something like that. I have it in my possession. I will use it someday."
Hashim declined to provide the tapes to New Times.
While the monetary fund pursued criminal charges in Abu Dhabi, it used another investigative firm, Shearman & Sterling, to track missing AMF money and explore the filing of charges in other countries. Shearman & Sterling discovered substantial transfer of funds out of Hashim's accounts at Dresdner Bank and BCCI into two accounts in Switzerland.
The monetary fund filed a criminal complaint against Hashim in Switzerland in March 1985. Court-appointed experts examining Hashim's Swiss banking arrangements determined that, by 1984, $25 million had been transferred into--and out of--Hashim's Swiss accounts.
Hashim says no money was transferred out of the Swiss accounts, because he never diverted money to them to begin with. He says the monetary fund attempted to prove he moved the money into Swiss banks, but lost the case.
"It was fully litigated and they lost," Hashim says.
But records indicate that Swiss courts dismissed the case in May 1988 because the $25 million had already been moved out of Switzerland--and beyond the jurisdiction of Swiss authorities.