THE STEALTH IRAQI

JAWAD HASHIM CLAIMS HE'S A BANKRUPT VICTIM OF A VENDETTA BY HIS FORMER BOSS--IRAQ'S FEARED PRESIDENT, SADDAM HUSSEIN. A WEALTH OF EVIDENCE SUGGESTS HASHIM'S JUST ANOTHER SCAM ARTIST WHO WOUND UP IN SCOTTSDALE.

The monetary fund didn't catch up with Hashim for several years after the Swiss case; the fund knew he had assets in England, but it couldn't locate him. By this time, he was living in Canada, where he had obtained citizenship.

The fund got a break in the fall of 1988, when Interpol, the European international police force, passed on word that Hashim had entered England. The AMF quickly asked the British courts to impose a worldwide freeze on Hashim's assets. The courts assented.

At the same time, the Arab Monetary Fund filed a civil suit against Hashim seeking repayment of the embezzled funds. The suit dragged on for five years, finally going to trial in January 1993.

The British High Court of Justice conducted the yearlong trial. The court issued a 606-page judgment in December 1993 in favor of the AMF, concluding that Hashim "misappropriated for his own benefit substantial sums of money belonging to the AMF."

Among the misappropriations were $18 million in AMF foreign-exchange profits diverted to Hashim's accounts at Banque Paribas Geneva and First National Bank of Geneva, and another $3 million in diversions from initial contributions by four member nations of the fund. The court also held Hashim liable for $21 million in losses incurred in precious metal trades covered by monetary fund assets.

The court ruled that Hashim transferred at least a portion of the missing money to his wife and his two sons, Omar and Jafar. The court ordered Hashim to pay the monetary fund $160 million; his wife was to pay $11 million; and Jafar and Omar owed $12 million and $11 million, respectively.

Finally, the High Court of Justice lambasted Hashim and his wife for lying to the court, submitting false documents and destroying evidence during the trial.

"From beginning to end, this litigation has been conducted by Dr. Hashim on the basis there is no depth to which he will not sink in order to discredit the [Arab Monetary Fund] and to seek to advance his cause," says Justice John Murray Chadwick, the presiding British judge.

Hashim says Chadwick was biased against him.
At any rate, Hashim and his family didn't stick around in England to hear Chadwick's final pronouncements. They left Britain before the multimillion-dollar judgments against them were entered, and, in November 1993, went to Canada for a brief stop before moving to a Scottsdale apartment.

Just because Hashim had left England did not mean the legal wrangling there was over.

British taxpayers had paid a $6 million legal bill for Hashim's side of the AMF lawsuit, because he qualified for public assistance after the British court froze his assets in 1988. In fact, Hashim asked the court to spend another $150,000 in early 1994 to cover his costs of filing an appeal to the judgment. The British have since revoked Hashim's right to public assistance and are seeking repayment of the legal aid he already has received.

While the protest over legal-aid payments to Hashim was reaching a crescendo in the British media, Hashim and his family were ignoring British court orders requiring them to disclose assets and refrain from transferring funds out of England. The British courts found Hashim and his wife in contempt last winter, sentencing Hashim to a two-year prison term. A warrant was issued for their arrest if the Hashims should reenter England.

But Hashim cannot be extradited from Arizona on the British contempt charges, and the Abu Dhabi conviction also cannot be enforced here. In fact, since moving to Arizona, the family's standard of living has seemed to regularly improve.

Jafar Hashim purchased a $475,000 Paradise Valley home a few months before filing bankruptcy. He owns a $15,000 BMW, a $40,000 Range Rover and a $15,000 Mercedes, according to bank records.

Jawad Hashim, his wife and their son Omar have moved out of the Scottsdale apartment they first rented two years ago and now enjoy life in a plush casita in an exclusive gated community at the Phoenician golf course, on the flanks of Camelback Mountain. Hashim says $70,000 he's borrowed from friends is tiding him over until he can obtain employment.

In the meantime, he's writing his memoirs on the Middle East and his times with Saddam Hussein. He's also seeking permanent U.S. residency.

"The weather is lovely here," Hashim told the London Daily Mirror in December. "It is warm all year round, and it is such a delight enjoying my grandchildren. They have given me renewed interest in life. Yes, life is quite wonderful."

But that was before Don Gaffney became fully involved in that life.

In depositions connected to the Hashim bankruptcy filings, Gaffney, the attorney the Arab Monetary Fund has hired in Phoenix, is relentlessly picking the Iraqi and his complex finances apart.

Gaffney is accustomed to complicated bankruptcy cases. He was the lead attorney in the massive bankruptcy filing that liquidated convicted swindler Charles H Keating's $7 billion American Continental Corporation. The procedures are almost second nature by now.

Gaffney's 19th-floor conference room in Arizona Center has been converted into a records warehouse filled with Hashim family financial records. Thirty six-inch-thick spiral binders are jammed with information on the Hashims. Bank records, telephone bills, credit-card bills and subpoenas are stacked atop a 15-foot conference-room table. More than a score of videotapes--the lengthy and sometimes hostile depositions of Jawad Hashim and his family--sit on a stand next to a television.

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