Arafat's Millions Could Slip Away

(AP/ABC News) Jaweed al-Ghussein, a former PLO finance minister, said Arafat's financial empire was worth $3 billion to $5 billion when he quit in 1996. But Palestinians fear that what's left will disappear or be pocketed by Arafat cronies. Arafat long resisted proper accounting for the funds, which include Arab payments to the PLO in the 1970s and 1980s, and Western aid to the PA in the 1990s. Shalom Harari, a former top Israeli intelligence official, said Arafat may have stashed away up to $700 million, part of it for an emergency such as a new exile, especially with Israel threatening to expel him. Al-Ghussein said that for a decade beginning in 1979, the PLO received about $200 million a year, $85 million of it from Saudi Arabia. Much of the Arab money dried up after Arafat sided with Saddam Hussein in 1990 during Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, but Saddam gave Arafat $150 million. The international community donated more than $6.5 billion to the PA from 1994 to 2003.

2004-11-08 00:00:00

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