The Airing of Grievances
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Nothing To See Here, Move Along
In his time among the living, sham Nobel Peace Prize winner Yasser Arafat controlled a personal fortune estimated to be anywhere from $300 million to $6.5 billion, depending on which way the source you read is skewed. Arafat's plunder, culled from donations to the PLO, the Palestinian Authority and himself, not to mention tax revenue "collected" from the very Palestinians he claimed to represent, made Arafat one of the world's wealthiest men, no matter the actual dollar amount. What is completely unclear is the extent to which his personal holdings were comingled with those of the PLO and Fatah, a fact that was a source of dispute, even before he died this year.
Surely, in the age of eschewing all things terrorist, no American company would welcome the investment of such ill-begotten plunder from someone with not-so-opaque ties to terrorist groups? Apparently, Citigroup didn't mind getting a small taste.
I'm not so naive as to believe that dirty money has never found an outlet on our shores. I'm quite sure millions, if not billions, of Saudi loot that isn't paid as hush money to Wahabbist "charities" is invested into and managed by many of our domestic banking institutions. But the denial on Citi's part in this matter is more than a bit disingenous. The Palestinian company which invested in Citigroup funds was, if an Arafat cabinet official is to be believed, founded and controlled by Arafat himself. The basic know-your-customer rules followed, in theory if not in practice, by all financial institutions in this country would turn up this knowledge at some point, especially after 9/11.